But some districts have found ways to defeat educational stagnation and among them is Scott County’s schools, which over the past year have improved in 19 of 28 subject areas, including math and science. Those two areas requiring critical thinking are important barometers, especially since U.S. students continue to rank around the middle of the pack and behind many other advanced industrial nations.
Every three years, the Program for International Student Assessment measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most results placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the program, the U.S. ranked near the bottom at 30th in math, and just 19th in science.
Scott County schools are doing something right. Superintendent John Ferguson told county supervisors that some of the largest performance increases between the last school year and this one occurred in the following subjects:
• Geometry: 74.63 percent in 2017 to 92.2 percent in 2018
• Grade three math: 79.1 percent in 2017 to 89.84 percent in 2018
• Grade three reading: 74.8 percent in 2017 to 83.4 percent in 2018
• EOC writing: 79.4 percent in 2017 to 88.19 percent in 2018
• Biology: 78.52 percent in 2017 to 84.42 percent in 2018
• Grade seven math: 78.31 percent in 2017 to 84.49 percent in 2018
Other subjects that saw performance increases were Algebra I, chemistry, civics and economics, earth science, EOC reading, grade four math, grade four reading, grade five math, grade five science, grade seven reading, grade eight reading, grade eight science and Virginia studies.
It’s an exceptional improvement and Ferguson, board members, teachers and staff and most especially, students and parents, have much to be proud of.