CCPS pleased with scores, but searching for baseline

With the latest KPREP scores made public recently, Clark County Public Schools administrators are still working to understand the data as the state moves forward in transitioning to a new model of assessing student achievement.

The Kentucky Department of Education is in the midst of a transition from KPREP to a new assessment program designed to look more at individual student performance than overall district and school scores.

Superintendent Paul Christy said the goal is to help district administrators focus in on ways to help gap students. In preparation for the change, KDE instituted changes this year to better match the incoming model. Some of these changes include not giving districts and schools rankings based on overall scores, and not presenting the data in a way that compares schools and districts to one another.

“It’s harder to talk about the scores this year because there’s not really a baseline to compare them to,” Christy said.

Career and Technical Education Coordinator Christy Bush said some elements of the assessment are still comparable to KPREP scores from prior years, such as college and career readiness, graduation rates and reading and math scores. Other elements of the assessment have changed either in scope or in the type of assessment used. For instance, the on-demand writing portion of the assessment was removed for sixth and 10th grade students this year. Additionally, there are currently no science scores available as students in the district took part in a field test rather than an assessment.

Rather than comparing schools to one another or comparing to past test scores, this year’s test results are to be compared to state averages.

That being said, Chief Academic Officer Brenda Considine said administrators have been able to identify areas where the district will need to work harder.

“Math and writing are areas we’ll need to focus on moving forward,” Considine said.

According to the results, 36.2 percent of elementary, 21.2 percent of middle school and 56.7 percent of high school students ranked either proficient or distinguished in writing, all of which are below the state averages.

In mathematics Christy said the district has been making progress across the board and scores are beginning to climb, with elementary and middle school students above state averages. However, only 32.8 percent of high school students in the district scored proficient or better in math compared to the state average of 38.1 percent. Considine said the low score may largely be because of a change in the order math classes are taught at George Rogers Clark High School that took place last year.

She said originally, GRC students would take algebra 1, then geometry before algebra 2. After the change, students will go from algebra 1 straight into algebra 2 before geometry to help reinforce algebra skills.

But while math and writing are subjects the district may need to pay special attention to, overall scores show Clark County students mostly ahead or on par with state averages.

The results show that reading skills have improved across the board, and the district boasts a 96.2 percent graduation rate compared to the state’s rate of 89.8. Bush said there was an uploading error that brought down the district’s college and career readiness rate and is in the process of being recalculated. Based on the missing data, administrators believe the true CCR rate will be about 92.59 percent, and when bonus points for ACT scores and industry certifications are factored into the score the district will likely be at or near 100 percent.

Christy said district administrators are still in the process of working with principals to see what the assessment results mean for each of the individual schools