Benchmarks vary for division

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Prince Edward County School Board discussed improvements and declines in second quarter benchmark testing at the board’s Jan. 10 meeting. According to division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson, is used as a quality predictor for Standards of Learning (SOL) testing.

“What we are finding is that in some areas we are making progress,” Johnson said during the meeting. “Are we making progress fast enough? No.”

Dr. Barbara Johnson

She said students were given benchmarks in October and then again in December.

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“That does not keep teachers from giving formative assessments,” Johnson said.

Pass rates for the second quarter English benchmarks increased over the second quarter for the 2016-17 school year in second, third, fifth, seventh, eighth and tenth grades. The rates declined in fourth, sixth, ninth and eleventh grades.

Pass rates for second quarter math benchmarks increased over the second quarter for the 2016-17 school year in second, fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, middle school Algebra 1, middle school Geometry, high school Algebra 1 and high school Geometry courses. They declined for third, fifth and sixth grades and the Algebra II course. Middle school science and social studies benchmarks declined compared to the second quarter for the 2016-17 school year with the exception of eighth grade science, which increased by almost 20 percentage points.

Earth Science, Chemistry and World History II benchmarks increased over the 2016-17 second quarter. World History I and Virginia and U.S. History declined.

Director of Accountability and Research Dr. Greg Wheeler cited that next steps following the benchmarks included continuing to monitor the alignment of lesson planning and classroom instruction through weekly lesson plan reviews and classroom observations.

In addition he cited that the division will conduct data analysis meetings with each school to identify areas where additional instruction/remediation is needed and work with building administrators to determine where additional support is needed.

As a part of accreditation standards in Virginia, schools must have a 75 percent pass rate in English SOL tests and a 70 percent pass right in math, science and social studies SOL tests. Currently, Prince Edward County High School is rated as “Partially Accredited: Warned School-Pass Rate.” Prince Edward County Elementary School and Prince Edward County Middle School are rated as “Partially Accredited: Reconstituted.”

According to a Virginia Department of Education press release, under revised standards, schools — beginning in 2018-19 — will be rated as either “Accredited” or “Accredited with Conditions” based on performance in relation to multiple school quality indicators.

“New indicators would include progress made by students toward proficiency in English and mathematics, achievement gaps in both subjects, absenteeism and dropout rates,” officials said in the release. “Schools that fail to implement state-required improvement plans could be rated as ‘Accreditation Denied.’”