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PE Presented Preliminary SOL Figures

PRINCE EDWARD – County school board members were presented with an in-depth look at the raw testing results at their July 6 meeting. And, while figures are down slightly compared to last year's numbers in some categories, the performance of sub groups continues to be a challenge.

The data, specifically, included preliminary SOL performance information by school and by No Child Left Behind subgroups. Director of Accountability and Research Dr. Roy Echeverria cautioned comparisons aren't necessarily apples to apples.

School board member Dr. Ellery Sedgwick asked how the data would be used-who would analyze it.

“…How will we know as a school board what's being done…?” he asked.

Superintendent Dr. David Smith cited that Dr. Echeverria would work with the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Laura Williamson-adding that working with the principals, analyzing the data for each school and using that information then to look at causes and develop the action steps that need to be implemented-whatever the changes may be for the start of the school year.

There are some gains, the superintendent offered, adding that there aren't enough yet “that we can say…we're really making consistent progress. One year increases need to be celebrated, they really do, but one data point doesn't make a trend…So that's what we're after is long term improvement.

School board members expect a presentation at their scheduled retreat.

The Numbers

Among the findings in the report:

*Overall reading scores at the elementary school remained essentially unchanged with a 71.7 percent passing rate (compared to 71.07 percent the previous year); math scores slipped from 80 percent to 77.7 percent; history scores fell from 80.97 percent to 73.3 percent; and science scores fell from 86.69 percent to 81.2 percent.

At the middle school, reading scores dipped from an 86 percent passing rate to 80.5 percent, math rose from 81.68 percent to 82.6 percent; history fell from 90.98 percent to 81.3 percent; and science went from 88.58 percent to 87.8 percent.

High school scores for reading went from an 85.71 percent passing rate to 86.2 percent; math rose from 74.47 percent to 89.4 percent; history fell from 85.58 percent to 68.7 percent; and science rose from 74.43 percent to 83.9 percent.

The high school, in the first of three years of turnaround program, focused on improving math and science achievement and scores in those to categories reflected improvement. The history test for all the schools has also undergone some change.

High school principal Craig Reed, discussing the high school history scores, explained at the June meeting, “As an assistant principal, one of the things that I've always observed – not just here, but in previous settings – is that…because of the test, history is taught on a very knowledge and comprehension level. The test that we had this year, calls for something different. It called for more critical thought and more analysis.”

Subgroups

The report also looked at SOL performance by subgroups in AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). In addition to achieving overall performance mandates, schools must also achieve statistical success in specific subgroups as well. The report weighed in on test results for those with disabilities, by socio economic status, and by race-ethnicity.

Among the highlights were that there was a general decline at the elementary school in performance for students with disabilities. Dr. Echeverria noted it was in “pretty much all subject areas.” Those in the statistical category saw a decline in reading pass rate from 69.44 percent to 61 percent, math dipped from 76.05 percent to 69.5 percent, history fell from 68.42 percent to 50 percent, and science was down from 76.31 percent to 66.7 percent.

At the middle school, there the percentage of students with disabilities passing SOLs declined from a 86.95 percent passing rate to 69.6 percent, math scores fell from 82.05 percent to 69 percent, history scores fell from 85.86 percent to 66.7 percent, and science scores fell from 91.07 percent to 65.7 percent.

At the high school level, the percentage of students with disabilities passing SOLs offered a mixed bag. Those passing reading dipped only slightly from 57.14 percent to 55.6 percent, math scores rose from 59.37 percent to 69.2 percent consistent with overall math improvements, history scores fell from 84.61 percent to 50 percent, and science scores rose from 50 percent to 59.1 percent.

Still, Dr. Echeverria cautioned, percentages are deceiving when the numbers are small. (There were 28 students with disabilities, for example, taking the middle school math SOL with half, or 14, passing.)

Reading scores by race at the elementary school remained fairly constant. The percentage of black students passing was 64.4 percent compared to 64.35 percent the previous year; the percentage of white students was 79.3 percent compared to 80.22 percent. The percentage of those passing math dipped slightly for black students from 73.26 percent to 70.6 percent and went from 87.50 percent to 86.4 percent for white students. The percentage passing history scores fell from 76.92 percent to 62.8 percent for black students and 87.35 percent to 81.9 percent for white students. Science scores fell form 78.64 percent to 74.5 percent for black students and went from 96.51 to 86.7 percent for white students.

At the middle school, the percentage of black students passing reading was 75.6 percent compared to 79.86 percent the previous year; the percentage of white students went from 94.71 percent to 86.7 percent. The percentage of black students passing rose from 75.11 percent to 77.3 percent and went from 90.61 percent to 89.4 percent for white students. The percentage of passing history scores fell from 87.7 percent to 75.2 percent for black students and 95.77 percent to 89.2 percent for white students. The percentage of passing science scores rose from 82.71 percent to 84.5 percent for black students and from 96.4 to 92.1 percent for white students.

At the high school, the percentage of black students passing reading rose slightly from 80.34 percent the previous year to 81.4 percent; the percentage of white students passing also rose from 94.2 percent to 96.3 percent. The percentage of passing math scores for black students rose from 68.08 percent to 84.4 percent and rose from 88.88 percent to 95.4 percent for white students. The percentage of history scores fell from 78.29 percent to 58.3 percent for black students and 96.83 percent to 83.2 percent for white students. The percentage of science scores rose from 66.45 percent to 74.7 percent for black students and from 88.6 to 96.4 percent for white students.

The school board has scheduled their retreat for August 27.