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Elementary, high schools here above state average

Middle schools fall below state grades

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POSTED: May 8, 2013 11:30 p.m.

The Liberty County School System could use some improvement in its middle-grades performance, according to Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index grades released Tuesday.
The CCRPI is the new accountability system that replaces the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurement in Georgia, and it measures schools and districts on a 100-point scale based on data from the 2011-12 school year.
The district’s middle schools scored 78.7 compared to the state average of 81.4 — but elementary and high schools both outperformed the state averages.
Liberty elementary schools received an 84.3 compared to the state’s 83.4, and high schools were almost four points higher than the state average of 72.6 with 76.3.
Statewide, the schools ranged from 12.9, with alternative and schools for the deaf receiving the lowest scores, to 102.7 belonging to the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics. Scores could be higher than 100 because schools have the ability to earn points for “exceeding the bar.”
Liberty Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said Tuesday there still is work to be done, but that overall the scores were satisfactory.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the results. Certainly in elementary and high school, where we’re scoring above the state average, I think that says a lot for the tremendous effort that our teachers and staff have put into this work,” she said. “Obviously, we have much work left to do, especially at the middle-school level.”
Scherer said it’s imperative for the public to know these scores are based on the previous academic year’s data, and the CCRPI will take more factors into effect as data accumulates.
She expects to see further improvements once scores for the current school year are released.
Was any aspect of the scores surprising?
“I would have thought our elementary schools would have been closer in scores than they are, just because we try to do so much consistently between the schools,” Scherer said. “We’ll continue to work on that. And I think where the consistency has really shown up is in the high schools, because they’ve been working so closely and planning so closely together. We’re going to try and move that to the middle and elementary as well.”
A school and district’s overall score is made up of three major areas: achievement (70 points possible), progress (15 points possible) and achievement gap (15 points possible). In addition to the three major areas, some schools receive “challenge points” to add to their score (up to 10 points).
They receive these points if they have a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, English-learner students and students with disabilities meeting expectations.
Included in the grades are green, yellow and red performance indicators to visually represent areas whether subgroups met performance standards by subject.
 The district received three red flags where the subgroups met participation rates but not state or subgroup performance targets. They received 14 yellow flags and 23 green flags.
Students with disabilities received red flags for English language arts and mathematics, and English learners were flagged for reading.
Students with disabilities have prevented the district in previous years from making AYP — but that’s because those students are held
to the same standards as all other students.  
“By virtue of the fact that they’re students with disabilities, they’re going to always score somewhat lower,” Scherer said. “If they don’t need accommodations and are expected to score like everybody else, then they wouldn’t be in special education.
“I think that’s one of the fallacies in this whole system — to think that students with disabilities are going to close the gap and score as well as your ‘normal’ and ‘gifted’ students. Now, that being said, I don’t think you ever expect students with disabilities not to perform their best.”
For Scherer, that aspect demonstrates that the test scores are “not end all, be all.”
“The CCRPI is a work in progress. It has many different indicators on it and will have more in the years to come, so it will look at more than just test scores, and therefore will probably be a truer representation of the multidimensional nature of our work,” she said.
How does Liberty fare against nearby counties?
• In Long County, Smiley Elementary School scored 78.5, Walker Middle School scored 76.5 and Long County High School scored 69.5.
• Bryan County’s elementary schools averaged 95.8, middle schools 88.1 and high schools 79.8.
• McIntosh County’s elementary schools scored 67.3, middle scored 78, and high school scored 66.7.
• Effingham County elementary schools scored 90.9, middles scored 89 and high schools scored 84.2.
• In Bulloch County, elementary schools scored 80.5, middles scored 84.8 and high schools scored 70.1.
• Chatham County elementary schools scored 76, middles scored 70.9, and highs scored 68.3.


 

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