Department of Education releases new format for school assessments

The Tennessee Department of Education recently revised its method of collecting and releasing its ranking of city and county schools. Below are the results for Elizabethton City Schools.

The DoE ranked Elizabethton City Schools in at least three different categories: Academic Achievement, Student Academic Growth and Chronically Out of School, each one using a four-point scale in comparison to other schools in the area and previous scores.

East Side Elementary received scores of 2.4, 2.2 and 1.4, respectively. In terms of the students’ ability to understand the material the school is teaching, East Side saw a 6 percent increase in mathematics achievement, but a 3 percent decrease in English and Language Arts and a 20.8 percent decrease in Science from last year.

Harold McCormick received scores of 2.4, 2.6 and 1.0, respectively. The elementary school is reported to have a 14 percent chronically absent rate, a 3.7 percent increase from 2017.

T.A. Dugger Junior High School received scores of 2.9, 0.4 and 2.9, respectively. The report said the results for different subjects were low except for three out of five in mathematics and a 5 out of 5 in social studies, though the latter is not an official part of the overall score.

West Side Elementary received scores of 3.6, 0.4 and 4.0, respectively. The high score for chronically absent students means very few students are considered chronically absent, meaning they miss more than 10 days of school for any reason. For West Side, less than 2 percent of students are considered chronically absent.

Elizabethton High School earned scores in the above categories in addition to two others: graduate readiness and graduation rate. Respectively, EHS earned scores of 0.6, 0.5 and 3.0 in the first three categories, 3.2 in graduate readiness and a 4.0 in graduation rate.

The perfect score in graduation rate does not translate to 100 percent, but the number is high, coming in at a 99.5 percent graduation rate, an almost 3 percent increase from 2016.

None of the five schools reported any statistics towards Progress on English Language Proficiency due to low student count.

Director of Elizabethton City Schools Corey Gardenhour said the results of this year’s report card will both encourage the school system to pinpoint where they need to improve and give them the means of actually doing so.

“Although the reliability and validity of the test can’t be determined this year at the state level (which is why it did not count against teachers this year), our goal will be to look for areas of relative strength and weakness and to determine where we can improve our instruction to meet our newest requirements from the state of Tennessee,” Gardenhour said.

The report card system itself reflects a recent revision of information the state presents every year. Public Relations Coordinator Bekah Price said the new system will be better able to reflect the strengths and weaknesses of schools by providing much more information.

“What’s new about the report card redesign is the school rating system on a 0.0 – 4.0 scale, the Spanish translation of the report card, and the additional data like the chronic absenteeism indicator and the ready graduate indicator [for EHS],” Price said. “The state is combining data that they used to provide as raw data and trying to show how those relate to the bigger picture of the school’s overall effectiveness.”

Gardenhour said the report card results do not change the overall goal of Elizabethton City Schools.

“Always our goal is to increase student achievement and growth and focus our attention on preparing students for college and careers,” he said.

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