Exceeding Expectations – Data shows ECS out-performs state averages in many areas

Published 4:10 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

From staff reports
Students in Elizabethton City Schools continue to outperform state averages in critical skills assessments.
Travis Thompson, who oversees testing and data for the school district, shared an update this week with members of the school board.
“We have had a ton of data from the state come out over the past few months” he told board members as he shared a synopsis of state accountability testing results.
Overall, ECS ranked 35out of some 150 schools in the state. “Overall, that’s not bad with the year we had,” Thompson said, referring to the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic. The district fell from 17th in the state in 2019.
The data combines two types of evaluations: a snapshot of current proficiency and a look at overall growth.
“The results are based on a combination testing that both measures student growth year-over-year and overall achievement. The growth is assessed regardless of whether the student is proficient on the state assessment. “So how much did they grow in one year,” he said.
Achievement measures the mastery of grade level standards. “So how well did that student on that given test on that given date,” he said.
Thompson said students in Elizabethton City Schools outperformed the state average in all grades in English and Literature Arts and Social Studies and all but one grade in math.
In English Language Arts, the district compared data for 2019 and 2021. “In 2019 … we were actually well above state average,” Thompson said. “In 2021, we had a dip … we blame that on COVID.” Despite that dip in performance, however, “we actually outperformed the state” in every category in 2021, Thompson said.
The ELA grade-level breakdown for 2021 is as follows: Grade 3, 32% state average, 41% district average; Grade 4, 33% state average, 42% ECS; Grade 5, 29% state average, 40% ECS average; Grade 6, 26% state average, 27% ECS; Grade 7, 27% state average, 32% ECS; Grade 8, 23% state average, 26% ECS; English 1, 30.1% state average, 30.3% ECS; and English II, 372.% state average, 42% ECS.
The ECS declines between 2019 and 2021 were as follows: Grade 3, 45.9% to 41%; Grade 4 48.5% to 42%; Grade 5, 46% to 40%; Grade 6, 44.2% to 27%; Grade 7, 42.1% to 32%; Grade 8, 32.1% to 26%; English 1, 32.4% to 30.3%; and English II, 45.2% to 42%.
“Several of those categories we did take a dip, but it wasn’t very significant,” said Richard VanHuss, Director of Schools. “Which again points to the great work the teachers did all year long under extremely difficult circumstances.”
Thompson said teachers faced additional challenges since many students were virtual during the 2020 school year, which complicated instruction efforts. Also, no testing was done in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
“In math, we outperformed the state in all categories except Algebra 1,” Thompson said. “If you look at Algebra 2, we actually jumped 8 points in the COVID year.”
The math grade-level breakdown for 2021 is as follows: Grade 3, 31% state average, 35% ECS; Grade 4, 34% state, 41% ECS; Grade 5, 31% state, 35% ECS; Grade 6, 26% state, 39% ECS; Grade 7, 23% state, 33% ECS; Grade 8, 25% state, 48% ECS; Algebra 1, 18.3% state, 15.2% ECS; Algebra 2, 19% state, 29.8% ECS (23.1% in 2019); and Geometry, 23.9% state, 24.5% ECS.
“With type of year it was, the Elizabethton City Schools still did quite well,” Thompson said.
The ECS fell below state averages in science categories in the middle school grades. “We took a little bit of dip below state in middle school areas, but the elementaries outperformed state by 20 points or better,” Thompson said. “In science, that (middle school) trend was across the state … we saw a dip in those grades across whole state.
The science grade-level breakdown is as follows: Grade 3, state 37%, ECS 48; Grade 4, state 42%. ECS 60%; Grade 5, state 39%, ECS 56%; Grade 6, State 38, ECS 37%; Grade 7, state 37%, ECS 34%; Grade 8, state 32%, ECS 30%; and Biology 1, state 41.2%, ECS 35%.
Thompson said social studies assessment were not administered for early grades, but the ECS outperformed the state and past performance.
The social studies grade-level breakdown is as follows: Grade 6, 36% state, 56% ECS; Grade 7, 38% state, 50% ECS; Grade 8, 38% state, 44% ECS and U.S. History, 33.2% state, 42.9% ECS.
In the TVAAS assessment, the district composite score is 2 out of 5. “TVAAS is looking at growth … how much growth you see in one year from point A to point B,” Thompson said.
In numeracy, the district scored 5 and in literacy a 1. “In math we trend pretty high; we’re pretty strong in that category,” Thompson said. “Literacy is something we’re continuingto work on”
An average year’s growth would be 3 out of 5, but he cautioned that for higher achieving schools, being able to document that growth in one year may be a challenge.
2021 Board Presentation
East Side Elementary was a standout in the district, with the highest score in all categories. “We’re very, very proud of them and what they’re able to accomplish, with 5 across the board,” VanHuss said.
Nearly 96% percent of students in the district took the assessments, Thompson said. “The state threshold was 80 percent, and we had 96%,” he said, adding that the participation is a testament to the work of administrators and testing coordinators.
And, the district also performed well compared to the state average of 15.5% in chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing more than 17 days of school.
“In 2019 for ECS 11.6% of our students, roughly 250 kids (were chronically absent),” Thompson said. “Even as hard as it was in 2021, we were at 15.4 percent … it seems high, but still below state average. Again, with the year we had, still not bad.”
Thompson also said the three elementary schools well exceeded the state average, at a combined average of 6 percent. “Very few of their students were considered chronically absent in a year when many kids didn’t want to come to school to learn,” Thompson said.