LaRue County Schools state assessment and accountability results released

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 The 2017-2018 state assessment results for Kentucky schools were released by the Kentucky Department of Education on Wednesday, September 26.

In the second year of a three-year transition to a new accountability system under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and Kentucky’s Senate Bill 1 of 2017, assessment results feature new scoring methods. Single scores are not reported for schools or districts, for example, as prohibited by Senate Bill 1.

LaRue County School leaders are analyzing data and developing plans to narrow achievement gaps after receiving the results.

“I congratulate our students, teachers and support staff on the many successes we see in the new assessment data,” said superintendent David Raleigh, “but we know we have important work ahead of us, especially as we develop new ways to meet individual students where they are and close any achievement gaps.”

At the elementary and middle school levels, schools received scores in three areas: proficiency, based on reading and math tests; separate academic indicator, based on science, social studies and writing tests; and growth, based on individual student growth in reading and math.

Both Abraham Lincoln and Hodgenville Elementary out-performed statewide proficiency and separate academic indicators scores, but the schools’ growth scores were lower than statewide scores.

LaRue County Middle School out-performed the state in all three areas.

High schools received scores in proficiency, based on reading and math sections of the ACT, graduation rate and transition readiness. The transition readiness rate, similar to the former college and career readiness score, is the percentage of graduates who demonstrate academic or career readiness.

LaRue County High School earned a proficiency score of 62.5, compared to the state’s 59.3, and a graduation rate of 98.7, compared to the state’s 90.8. The high school’s transition readiness score, 60.1, is 0.8 lower than the statewide score.

“The assessment data confirms what our teachers and administrators have identified as an improvement opportunity: We need to increase access to career and technical education to ensure every student is ready to transition from high school,” said Assistant Superintendent for Student Achievement Amanda Reed.

LaRue County Schools already has been building partnerships with neighboring school districts and exploring online instruction to increase students’ access to career and technical education, Reed noted.

Under the new assessment model, essentially the bottom 5 percent of schools have been identified as Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools. A school can be identified as Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) if any student subpopulation performs at or below the level of the full student population of the CSI schools. About half of Kentucky high schools have been classified TSI schools.

The assessment results classify LCHS as a TSI school, as the scores show transition readiness of African American students was 36.4 percent, below the CSI/TSI threshold of 41 percent. To trigger the TSI designation, a subpopulation must perform below thresholds in each indicator for which there are at least 10 students (proficiency, graduation rate and transition readiness).

High school proficiency data comes from 11thgrade, transition readiness data from 12thgrade, and the graduation rate from the average of the last two graduating classes. With small populations, some grades have more than 10 students and other grades have fewer. Enrollment numbers in various grade levels meant transition readiness was the only applicable indicator for the African American population at LCHS. Though student counts were lower than 10, the proficiency score and graduation rate for African American students were above CSI/TSI thresholds.

Transition readiness is a concern overall for the school, and specifically for gap populations, Reed said. Achievement gaps exist in transition readiness for Hispanic students, students who received free or reduced-price lunch, and students with disabilities, though higher performance on other indicators (proficiency and/or graduation rate) prevented these subpopulations from being flagged in state assessments. LCS leaders are developing transition readiness improvement plans for all students.

Raleigh said school stakeholders will notice the district’s increased focus on preparing students for career opportunities right away. It is one of the district three immediate priorities, along with school safety and students’ emotional and mental health.

“Improving career and technical education opportunities for our students also will tie into the strategic plan we will develop throughout this school year,” Raleigh said.