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New test scores from the 2011-12 school year were unveiled Friday and will establish a new starting point for schools across the commonwealth to measure progress in several different areas.
The state’s new Unbridled Learning Accountability Model was unveiled with an avalanche of data, but the following is an attempt to explain what it all means for Carroll County in the simplest terms possible.
There are three main areas in which all schools receive points: achievement, gap, growth. Achievement points are based on test scores for all students. Gap points are based on test scores for students in traditionally underperforming groups (ethnic minorities, special education, poverty and limited-English proficient). Growth points are based on how much individual students improve from year to year, compared to their academic peers.
Elementary schools get 30 percent of their points from achievement, 30 percent from gap, and 40 percent from growth. A perfect score would be 100. In the past it was 140. The average elementary score in Kentucky is 57.3. Cartmell Elementary School’s score is 47.9.
Middle school scores are based on the three areas stated above, plus college/career readiness, which represents how well students scored on the ACT Explore. The middle school score, therefore, has four parts. As with elementary schools, a perfect middle school score is 100 and was 140. The average score for Kentucky middle schools is 53.5. Carroll County Middle School’s score is 46.2.
High school scores are based on the four areas stated above, plus graduation rate, which represents the percentage of incoming freshmen who graduate in four years. As with elementary scores, a perfect score is now 100 and was 140. The average score of Kentucky high schools is 54.8. Carroll County High School’s score is 52.6.
The Carroll County School District as a whole received 48.9 points compared to the state average of 55.2 points.
“We’ve been in transition since 2009 when Senate Bill 1 called for a new school accountability model,” said Pam Williams, district assessment coordinator. “Now we can clearly define the work ahead of us. We will be looking at the targets set by the state and address what is needed to meet those targets.”
Like 70 percent of school districts in Kentucky, the Carroll County School District is in the “Needs Improvement” category. The district is also one of 17 “focus” districts for underperforming in the gap category. Likewise Cartmell and CCMS are both “focus” schools for underperforming in the gap category.
“We have high expectations for students and teachers,” said Lisa James, superintendent of Carroll County Schools. “We had solid numbers in the area of growth, which means that although we have a significant proportion of students with challenges, those students are growing and improving.”
James said the district is working to better align curriculum and assessment and will develop a plan for continual improvement.
Jeff Fremin is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.