'Report Card' grades Tennessee schools

Rick Wagner • Nov 3, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport City Schools received an “A” in academic achievement in math, science and social studies and a “B” in reading on the 2009 Tennessee Department of Education Report Card.

However, in value-added Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores — which measure how much progress students have made in one year — the system got a B in math, C’s in reading and social studies, and a D in science. Individual schools got anywhere from A’s to F’s in value-added scores.

“As a system we are showing some good scores. But we have areas to grow,” Damon Cathey, KCS assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said Tuesday afternoon. His comments followed the morning public release of the State Report Card data.

Statewide, schools scored an average of straight B’s in achievement and straight C’s in value-added.

In Kingsport, one bright spot at the elementary level was Lincoln Elementary.

It got straight B’s in achievement, which is the state average, and on value-added got an A in math, B’s in reading and science, and a C in social studies compared to the state average of straight C’s.

And Jefferson Elementary got straight A’s in achievement but in value-added got an A in math, C in reading, and B’s in social studies and science.

On the down side, Roosevelt Elementary in achievement got a B in math and C’s in the other three subjects and on value-added got D’s in math and reading and F’s in social studies and science.

This year’s scores use a new baseline, meaning they were re-indexed to 2009 levels instead of the old 1998 level. Next year, the scoring of the results will be tougher to reflect curriculum changes and more academic rigor.

“Because we have been on an aggressive path of improvement with the Tennessee Diploma Project, it was necessary to utilize this transition year to change our calculation methods and more accurately demonstrate student progress in an effort to pursue higher standards,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Timothy Webb said in a written statement Tuesday.

He said two major changes have been implemented for calculation of scores on the State Report Card.

First, the baseline year for comparing student achievement has been reset using 2009 test scores. Second, the grade scale used to determine all grades A through F has been dramatically revised, meaning scores considered to be an A “proficient” in years past may now be a B or C, Webb said.

“Plans are being developed,” Cathey said of work at every school to improve both achievement and value-added scores.

At the high school level, Dobyns-Bennett High School exceeded the state goal of a 90 percent graduation rate, and ACT test results also exceeded the state average, especially in math, Cathey said.

The system three-year composite ACT average score was 22.2 compared to a statewide average of 20.7, and the one-year composite was 22.3 compared to the state’s 20.6.

“We’re really happy with our graduation rate. That continues to be a point of pride with our schools,” KCS spokeswoman Amy Greear said.

She and Cathey said graduation efforts include math coaches and other academic coaches at the middle and high school levels.

Last week Cathey, KCS Director of Accountability Dory Creech and literacy coaches went to every school to go over the State Report Card data and look at ways to improve it for next year.

However, while this year’s scores generally went down because of re-indexing, next year’s scores may be down, too, because they will be scored on a tougher, yet-to-be-determined scale.

In general, with the new index, having lower value-added scores is not necessarily a bad thing as long as achievement scores are OK.

“We’d be more concerned if we had a C in achievement,” Greear said.

For instance, at Jackson Elementary, value-added was C in math, D in reading and F’s in social studies and science. However, achievement came out straight B’s.

And at Johnson Elementary, achievement was straight A’s while valued-added was C’s in math and reading and B’s in social studies and science.

Likewise, Robinson Middle School had straight A’s in achievement but a C in reading and D’s in the other three categories in value-added.

Sevier Middle in achievement got A’s in math and science and B’s in reading and social studies, while value-added was a B in math, D’s in reading and science, and a C in social studies.

Washington Elementary had all B’s in achievement but in value-added had B’s in math and science, an A in social studies and a C in reading.

And at Kennedy Elementary, achievement scores were B’s in math, social studies and science and a C in reading, but in valueadded Kennedy got a C in math and F’s in the other three subjects.

“With our continued focus in key academic areas and the tireless work of our teachers and administrators to address and implement improvements, we are poised to face the challenges ahead as we tackle a more rigorous curriculum,” Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller said in an afternoon news release. “Our goal is for every student to be ready for college and the work force upon graduation, no exception.”

The full State Report Card for the state, individual systems and individual schools is available online by CLICKING HERE.

Recommended for You

    Kingsport Times News Videos