Both LaRue County middle and high schools scored well on Explore and Plan assessments whose results were recently released.
“We are very close to reaching our goal of being a consistent Top 10 percent, High Performing District,” said Sam Sanders, LaRue County Schools superintendent. “This was the second year in a row for stellar scores from LCMS on Explore.”
The middle school scored higher than the state average in every area on Explore, which delivers important information for building a high school academic plan and helps students identify careers in which they might be interested. It has a maximum score of 25.
In English, LaRue’s eighth graders scored 1.5 points higher (16.1) than the state (14.6). LCMS scores in reading (15.9) and science (18.1) climbed 1.4 points above state averages (14.5 in reading and 16.7 in science). LaRue, with a math score of 16.3, topped the state average of 15.4.
Among 20 area middle schools, LCMS ranked first in reading and science, second in English, and third in math.
Jason Detre, LCMS principal, noted several factors behind the high scores including a consistent reading program, high expectations, exposing students to Explore-like questions in the classroom during the entire school year, and focused professional development.
Instructional supervisor Denise Skaggs also noted that the school holds a special night in August to educate parents on the upcoming test. A practice Explore test in late August helps teachers determine strategies to help students and to set up intervention groups.
“Kids know their scores on the practice test and they set goals for how they want to score on the real test,” Skaggs said. “On Parent Night teachers go over results.”
On the Explore composite, LaRue is in the top seven percent of all districts in the state. The highest ranking is in science where the district is ranked 10th, scoring as well or better than 94 percent of all Kentucky school districts in science. Last year the middle school ranked 15th in the state with a composite of 16.3.
On the Plan assessment, which serves as the midpoint check of academic progress in high school with a maximum score of 32, LaRue County High School also scored as high as or higher than the state in all areas. LCHS sophomores outscored the state average by seven-tenths of a point in English (17.3-16.6), by .4 in math (17.5-17.1) and .4 in reading (17.2-16.8), and by one-tenth in science (18.2-18.1).
With a Plan composite percentile of 72, LaRue was in the top 28 percent of districts overall. The highest Plan sub-score percentiles were in English where LaRue scored as well or better than 79 percent of all Kentucky districts, and in math and reading where LaRue fared as well or better than 74 percent of all state school districts.
Amanda Reed, instructional supervisor, said teaching strategies in class helped students with such things as how to maximize their time and the importance of reading question stems before passages.
“Practice tests we are giving at school and use of data walls with staff to track progress and plan for the next steps or interventions also help,” Reed said. “We also started “Roadmap to Success” this year in which students track their own progress over time toward meeting benchmarks and they save the data on their computers.”
Paul Mullins, LCHS principal, mentioned the school will be including as part of its summer professional development a more rigorous focus on preparing students during their freshman year and using the data produced from the practice Plan on test improvement.
“We’re also continuing to work on testing strategies through Academic Time and our core classes, plus using the WIN program at the freshmen level,” he added. WIN is a software program that focuses on the behavioral, attitudinal, social, and readiness skills employers and post-secondary programs demand.
“All staff and students are to be congratulated for these excellent Explore and Plan scores,” Sanders said. “I'd also like to thank our board of education members for their continued support.”
LCMS school rankings out of 322 public schools: English – 34 (89th percentile); math – 54 (83rd percentile; reading – 31 (90th percentile); science – 20 (94th percentile; composite – 27 (92nd percentile).
LCHS school rankings out of 231 public schools: English – 58 (75th percentile);
Math – 54 (77th percentile); reading – 68 (71st percentile); science – 81 (65th percentile); composite – 63 (73rd percentile).