A new scoring system for statewide testing will result in signifi- cantly lower numerical scores for state testing, but it will not mean that schools are doing poorly, the Jenkins Independent Board of Education was told this week.
Jenkins Superintendent Deborah Watts and Jenkins Middle High School Principal David Lee told the board Monday that the new system will reduce the maximum possible score from 140 to 100 as the base. Lee said new statewide benchmarks will be established in next year’s testing and are expected to be around the 50 to 60 range, so it will look like schools are scoring lower.
The new system was authorized for the 2011-2012 school year by Senate Bill 1, and the results of the new evaluation model will be shown when this year’s scores are released next fall. Like previous models, it will report on student scores in math, reading and science to assess school performance. However, the new model will also include “student achievement growth measures, emphasis on college and career readiness, high school graduation rates, student achievement in writing and social studies, and increased focus on the lowestperforming schools.”
The new model, called Unbridled
Learning, will hold all schools and districts accountable for improving performance and establishes four areas that will be used to determine consequences and the possibility of intervention. The four as described by the Kentucky Department of Education are: “Achievement (content areas are reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing.); Gap (percentage of proficient and distinguished) for the Non- Duplicated Gap Group for all five content areas; Growth in reading and mathematics (percentage of students at typical or higher levels of growth); College Readiness as measured by the percentage of students meeting benchmarks in three content areas on EXPLORE at middle school; College/Career- Readiness Rate as measured by ACT benchmarks, college placement tests and career measures; and Graduation Rate.”
Principal Lee said next year’s testing will also establish a new system of goal setting along with benchmark scores. He said each school and district’s goal will be set by taking the difference in its score and 100 and dividing it by five. For instance, if a school scores 55, and divides the remainder, 45, by five, the next year’s goal will be set at a nine-point improvement over the last score.
Lee also said the new scoring system will allow schools to track each class as it progresses through each school year and also allows schools to track individual students through their school career. He said this will allow parents to see progress in their children throughout their time in school, but added that it will be important for parents to understand the scoring system so they can full take advantage of it to monitor their child’s progress.
Superintendent Deborah Watts said the testing will be weighted heavily in the areas of accountability and college career readiness and proficiency in basic core curriculum skills. She said the emphasis on core curriculum will be about the same as last year, but the different scoring system will make it look different. Each school district will be compared with the overall state average and schools will be compared in how they measure up to the state average as well as if they reach their improvement goals.
In other business, the board approved an out-of-state trip for the senior class picnic to be held at Camp Bethel in Pound, Va. Principal Lee said he would like to establish a tradition of having something of that nature for seniors each year before they graduate. The board also voted to let May 28, Memorial Day, stand as the date for the May board meeting.