On Tuesday RCS testing coordinator Shane Bailey presented the RCE Board of Education with the preliminary results from TCAP testing that took place in the spring. Bailey said the detailed results will be released in October.
TCAP assessments measure student achievement, which is how well they performed on the day of the test, as well as student Value Added (growth), which is how much they improved in a certain subject over the previous year.
Growth results from 2016-17 testing last spring takes into account that there was no TVAAS (Tennessee Value Added Assessment System) testing during the 2015-16 school year. As a result, the growth results are based on TVAAS scores from the 2014-15 school year.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with Level 5 being the highest possible score, RCS's students in grades 3-8 scored an overall Level 3, which indicates "Evidence that the district's students made progress similar to the (state's) Growth Standard."
On a positive note RCS scored a Level 5 in Literacy, which indicates "Significant evidence that the district's students made more progress similar to the (state's) Growth Standard."
RCS also scored a Level 3 in Science.
But it scores a Level 1 in Numeracy (math), which indicates "Significant evidence that the district's students made less progress than the growth standard.
"We're not happy about that at all," Bailey told the BOE. "Not as a district, not as a school, not as individuals. Overall we're a Level 3, but when we dig a little deeper we see where we've got room for improvement."
Bailey said that once the detailed reports arrive administrators and faculty will begin mapping out a plan to improve those Value Added growth scores.
"I promise you we're going to dig through every possible report there is to find answers to help our teachers help our students," Bailey added. "We've already started looking at this and try to find answers as to what has happened. We'll continue the ongoing review of every report available from TVAAS, utilize diagnostic reports. That's growth of groups of students at each academic level."
Bailey said administrators will also conduct one-on-one intense data discussions with teachers; review and utilize student projections; set goals for each student and teacher based on data; utilize math and ELA coordinators to assist teachers with continuous data-driven decision making in the classroom; and implement a math improvement plan under the leadership of principal Rhonda Winstead.
RCS director Rebecca Isaacs said inconsistent state testing standards make it difficult for schools to meet state goals when they're always shooting at a moving target.
The low score in math growth may be the result of a recent increased emphasis on improving literacy scores.
"We truly believe that we had such an intensive focus on literacy, that maybe mathematics suffered," Isaacs told the BOE. "We are ecstatic with our perfect score in literacy. That is awesome. We are grossly unhappy with a less than perfect score in numeracy."
She added, "We have had changes in standards repeatedly over the past few years. We have had these nebulous standards changing, changing, changing. Assessments that don't necessarily keep up with standards. I'm not making excuses for us. We have work to do. But I promise you if Rogersville City School, with all of our strengths, has challenges, there are many many school systems in the state that have worse ones."
Isaacs noted that even before receiving these results a math interventionist had been assigned to work with teachers in the classroom on improving math performance.
Preliminary results in the Achievement category were much more promising.
RCS had total of 18 assessments in reading, math and science for grades 3-8. Of those 18 assessments, 15 were above the "State Raw Score Average"; and nine of 18 assessments were in the top 30 of Tennessee's 144 school systems.