Local schools perform well on state report

Published 1:35 am Friday, January 6, 2017

The Alabama Department of Education recently released report cards for every school district in Alabama, but it assigned no letter grades, as was expected.

The department says it plans to release letter grades in December.

Covington County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver said that basically what the state has done is establish two grading rubrics – one for the elementary and middle and one for the high school.

“It can be really confusing,” he said. “We understand it, but it’s still confusing.”

Schools and districts were graded in four areas: graduation rates in high schools; learning gains, student achievement and local indicators.

Those indicators make up 75 percent of the school rating. It is presumed that the rest of the 25 percent of indicators will be released in December, with the overall grades.

Learning gains contributed to 30 percent of the score; Learning goals include reading and math, and the score is based on individual students who demonstrate improvement in reading and math from one year to the next using multiple years of data.

Student achievement represented 20 percent of the score. Student achievement includes reading and math and is determined based on the percentage of proficient students in both areas utilizing assessments in tested grades.

Local indicator is 5 percent of the score, and is determined based on one indicator tied to student outcomes.

Graduation rates comprise 20 percent of the score, and are determined based on the percentage of high school students who graduate within four or five years of first entering the ninth grade.

For local scores, click here

Driver said that typically the higher the poverty in a system, the lower the achievement rate.

“I felt across the board all of our students did well,” he said. “We certainly had points we want to work on to improve.”

Driver explained that the state allowed each school to select a program that were doing to work on as their local indicator.

“Some of our schools took the STAR test as their indicator and made it a goal to improve their results by 5 percent,” he said. “Others did attendance.”

Driver said the state had to approve the goals and that at the end of the year, if schools had met those goals, they earned 100 percent.

“I feel pretty good considering we are only in the third year of this new testing regime,” he said.

Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said that parents in all of Covington County should be pleased with the education their children are receiving.

“We have seen some pretty significant improvements in closing the gap between our special education students and our regular learners,” he said. “We know that there is still improvements to be made, but we are pretty proud of our schools.”

Watson said their local indicator was attendance.

Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart said that he was very pleased with the results.

“We’ve been recognized by research organizations for our gains in testing,” he said. “I think everyone should be pleased. Anyone in Covington County should be pleased with the results for all of our schools.”

Smithart said one thing he didn’t agree with was that only 16 schools will be classified as an A school.

“That makes no sense,” he said. “I still believe that a B is a good grade. It’s above average and all-in-all our parents should be pleased.”