County schools show significant growth in TCAP scores

Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:32 am

Last week’s release of district TCAP testing results reveal the Coffee County School system is on its way up.

Coffee County placed among the top 10 systems in the state for growth in reading/language arts, math and social studies for testing in grades three through eight and placed in the top 20 for growth in science.

“We are really proud of this growth,” said Brenda Brown, director of elementary instruction for the Coffee County School System. “We are really going in right direction. Are we where we want to be? No. But we will keep working to get there.”

In grades 3-8, Coffee County Schools had 49.2 percent of students who were tested score in the proficient or advanced range for math, 51.2 percent tested proficient or advanced in reading, 64.5 percent tested proficient or advanced in science and 88.6 tested proficient or advanced in social studies.

The most growth came in Math, where there was a 10.4 percentage point growth over last year’s results. Those results were worked hard for, said school officials.

“Math was our big focus [this year],” added Brown. “That was the weakest the year before. It’s really hard to focus with one subject without letting everything else drop. So we were thrilled that other areas did not drop.”

Other subjects were far from dropping. Reading and language arts saw a 6.1 percentage-point growth while science and social studies saw 5.9 and 3.9 percentage-point growths, respectively.

“I am very encouraged by the growth in academic achievement that we have experienced in our school system in all grade levels and in all areas,” Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall said in an email. “We have made significant progress in becoming one of the top performing districts in the state and I am so proud to lead and be a part of this distinguished, hard-working Coffee County team.”

Math also saw significant growth at the high-school level in Algebra 1 with a 13.2 percentage-point growth and 71.9 percent of students testing proficient or advanced.

“We are pleased to see our growth in math and our performance overall, really,” said Stephen Blessing, director of middle school instruction and testing.

“We are getting a level of consistency with our growth now,” added Blessing. “This is an expression of growth. By maintaining growth like that as they keep on growing they eventually hit proficient or advanced.”

Algebra II experienced a bit of a dip in growth, going backwards 8.1 percentage points with 42.8 percent of students tested being proficient or advanced. Blessing cautioned that those scores are comparing to the previous year’s algebra II scores and not to the students’ performance as algebra I students.

“That’s comparing the previous year to this year’s algebra two students, which is a different group of students. Certainly we don’t’ like to see that drop but when we look at what is it telling us we learn something. We had a change in teaching staff in that area. Anytime we see results we look to see what influenced results. Was there a change in textbooks or teachers. ” …

Read the complete story with more information in this week’s (Aug. 7) print edition of the Manchester Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and/or print edition of the paper.

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