School Officials Pleased with Overall DeKalb TCAP Results

July 31, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

DeKalb County student performance on the 2013 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program shows growth in nearly all subjects.

The data, released by the Tennessee Department of Education, show district-by-district results for each subject of the 3-8 Achievement Tests and High School End of Course exams.

"These numbers reflect that the DeKalb County staff and students have done an outstanding job this past year," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby in an interview with WJLE last Friday, July 26. "We've seen growth in almost every area and we're really excited about that. The achievement scores are wonderful," he said.

"Our Annual Measurable Objective (AMO's) are broken into two areas," said Lisa Bell, data analysis. " One area is achievement which is the percentage of students that are able to meet the bar set by the state. The other side is our growth side. That is how much growth a student has made from the last year of testing to this year of testing," she said.

Growth over last year represents the difference between 2011-12 and 2012-13 in terms of the number of students who scored proficient or advanced. The following shows combined grades 3-8 student performance in the subject areas of Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies:

DeKalb County:

Math:
(43% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(1% growth over last year)

Reading:
(50% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(0.6% growth over last year)

Science:
(64.9% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(1.8% growth over last year)

Social Studies:
(84.8% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(0.9% growth compared to last year)

DeKalb County exceeded last year's percentage of proficient students locally in 3-8 Reading which means more students met the expectations set by the state than last year. DeKalb's growth rate in 3-8 Reading was also among the best in the state, according to Bell. "We have some very positive things to say about growth. The state releases a ranking of all of the systems compared to one another and they compare us in many ways. One of the ways they compare us is how much our students change their percentile ranking from third grade to eighth grade. They take the third grade's percentile ranking and they test those students in third grade and then they test those exact same students in eighth grade and then they compare where they fall in the percentile in the state. They rank 135 systems across Tennessee. I am really proud to say that in Reading we (DeKalb County) are twelfth out of 135 systems when you look at how much a student changes from third to eighth grade in that percentile ranking," said Bell.

DeKalb's 3-8 Reading Growth Standard also ranks high, according to Bell. The growth standard reflects how much our average eighth grade student had grown (academically) each year since third grade. "As for our Reading growth standard, we are 27th out of 135 systems. When you look at the growth standard that we have for our third grade students, as you look at them progressing from third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh grade, and eighth grade, our growth standard makes us 27th out of 135 systems in Reading. That is extremely positive," she said.

Math is another subject in which DeKalb County, on average, exceeded last year's percentage of proficient students locally in grades 3-8. "When you look at our three year average, the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) gives you colors and green is always great. Green means you are significantly above the growth standard for the state. When you look at our growth standard for our three year average in math, we are still solid. I think that says a lot about our teachers and about the effort they have put forth when it comes to the changes that the state has been doing for the last three years," said Bell.

As for the End of Course Achievement test 9-12 student performance, Annual Measureable Objectives (AMO’s) were met in all areas, Algebra I and II, and English II and III. "Our students and teachers are working very hard and I am very proud of them all” said Lisa Cripps, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12th. “We missed our Graduation Rate Target Goal of 94.6 by 1.1%.” Tennessee’s overall graduation rate continues to improve reaching 87.2 in 2012. “Our high school graduation rate, while falling short of our target continues to be significantly higher than the state average” said Cripps.

End of Course Achievement and Growth results for grades 9-12 are as follows:

Algebra I:
(56.2%)
(1% growth over last year)

Algebra II:
(28.8% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(8.2% growth compared to last year)

Biology I
(72.1% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(15.5% growth compared to last year)

English I
(68.1% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(0.7% growth compared to last year)

English II
(56.9% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(-2.3% growth compared to last year)

English III
(32% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(0.7% growth compared to last year)

U.S. History
(92% of students performed at the proficient or advanced level)
(-2.1% growth compared to last year)

While the overall results are positive, officials said the local school system still has some work to do in closing achievement gaps among certain subgroups of students.

"I would like to commend our teachers and our students on such a great job that they did last year when we know that the rigor of the test changed tremendously from one year to the next," said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through 6th grade. "This speaks volumes for the hard work that our parents, teachers and our students did in partnership. I think we're proving that everyone working together can make changes for our students in DeKalb County," she said.

"Our goal starting in kindergarten and going to twelfth grade is for them to be college and career ready. We're spiraling up to that and I think we're getting where we need to be," said Cripps.

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