School Report Card Shows Academic Gains

November 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Lisa Bell

The state's 2013 Report Card on DeKalb County Schools reveals that the system received A's and B's in the areas of achievement and value added growth in grades 3-8.

Students take the TCAP tests in the spring. The report card released last week represents data collected from the spring of 2013 for the state, school districts and individual schools. As in its past version, the report card also includes end-of-course exam percentages, ACT results, graduation percentages and other school-related profile information.

The DeKalb County School System had all B's in Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies, the same letter grade as last year but in each subject the actual scores were up. "Achievement is a measure of how well students performed on the TCAP tests in 2013. How high did they score? Were they proficient? We have many areas to celebrate that showed an improvement over 2012," said Data Analyst Lisa Bell, during Tuesday night's school board meeting.

Value Added marks (Growth) were as follows: A in Math, up from a B last year; a B in Reading, the same letter grade as last year but with a higher score; and a B in Science and Social Studies, better than last year's C in those subjects. (Value Added) Growth is measured by comparing test performance over the previous years of testing," said Bell.

The DCHS graduation rate was 95.4% for 2013, up from 93.5% in 2012 and well above the state average of 86.3%.

The DCHS Junior and Senior Classes ACT three year average remained the same at 18.4, which falls short of the students predicted score of 19.5 and the state average of 19.1. However, officials say ACT study online courses have been implemented at DCHS for students to help improve ACT results.

DeKalb County High School End of Course Achievement results and Valued Added Growth for Algebra I and II, English I, English II, and English III, and Biology I and US History are also shown on the Report Card. "Algebra I and II Achievement increased from 2012 to 2013," said Bell. "The growth was below average. Ninety two percent of students passed the U.S. History End of Course Exam last year but U.S. History also had below average growth. "English I, II, and III all had average growth comparable with the state average. Biology had a significant increase in achievement. The percentage of students passing the Biology End of Course increased last year from 57% to 72%. Biology also had above average growth last year," said Bell.

"I'm very proud of the Report Card. The growth that has been made and the accomplishments that have happened," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. "When I look at some of our other school systems surrounding us, I am pleased with how DeKalb County Schools are doing compared to those schools. What would really be wonderful is if parents would send a note to the teachers telling them that you appreciate their hard work. More has been put on the plates of teachers in Tennessee and in my opinion, they have been less appreciated by the state department of education in the last few years than they ever have been. They are doing more and working harder than they ever have. I think we owe our teachers in DeKalb County and across the state of Tennessee more than we could ever pay them for what they do in shaping the lives of our children. I think we should show our appreciation to them more and more every day," said Willoughby.

DeKalb Middle School Achievement showed all B's in the areas of Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies. It's the same letter grade as last year in Math, Science and Social Studies but an improvement over a C last year in Reading. Actual scores were up from last year in all subjects.

Value added growth at DeKalb Middle: An A in Math, the same as last year; an A in Science, up from a D last year; a D in Reading, the same as last year; and a B in Social Studies, up from a D in 2012. Actual scores were up in all categories showing improvement.

DeKalb West School Achievement: a B in Math, the same as in 2012; and A's in Reading, Science, and Social Studies, the same as last year. Actual grades in Math and Reading were the same as last year and slightly better in Science and Social Studies.

Value Added growth at DeKalb West showed a B in Math, up from a C in 2012; an A in Reading, the same as last year; a C in Science, down from a B in 2012; and a B in Social Studies, the same as last year. Actual scores were better in all categories except Science where the score was just two tenths of a point below last year.

Northside Elementary Achievement: a B in Math, up from a C in 2012; and a B in Reading, Science, and Social Studies, the same as last year in each category. Actual scores were better in Math and Reading and the same in Science and Social Studies.

Value Added Growth at Northside Elementary showed an A in Math, up from a B last year; an A in Reading, the same as 2012; a B in Science, the same as last year; and an A in Social Studies, the same as 2012. Actual grades were better in all subjects except Social Studies, which showed a dip of fourth tenths of a point.

Results at Smithville Elementary mirror Northside Elementary because it is considered a feeder school.

The 2013 state Report Card offers increased functionality for users to view detailed breakdowns of last year’s continued statewide student achievement growth.

The new design of the 2013 Report Card offers users the ability to create personalized comparisons between state, school, and districts on the following measures: achievement, ACT scores, graduation rate, student enrollment and ethnicity, and value-added composite scores. As an example, parents and community members can now compare individual schools or districts to see how well they are preparing students for college and careers, or to see which has a higher percentage of students on grade level in a specific subject area.

The 2013 Report Card also features a new profile page for each school, which shows student demographics, value-added composite scores, and student achievement in one central location.

“We think it’s important for parents and students, as well as school and district leaders, to know how well their schools are doing each year,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “The new functionality of the 2013 Report Card allows parents and the community to organize and compare specific information about students at the state, district and school level.”

The 2013 Report Card also features a new College and Career Readiness tab. This tab includes data on graduation rates, ACT scores, college readiness benchmarks, and the percentage of students who are eligible to receive the HOPE Scholarship.

As the state strives to advance outcomes for all Tennessee students, these results allow educators to identify areas that need the most improvement. Through its regional offices, the department provides resources, support, and expert analysis to help districts and schools with data-driven interventions.

•For the newly redesigned 2013 state Report Card, visit
To view previous state Report Cards, visit

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