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Test scores show gains at all schools

CIITSAll five McCreary County schools saw marked improvement over last year in the latest release of data from the Kentucky Department of Education’s Unbridled Learning accountability program.

Leading the way for the second consecutive year is Pine Knot Intermediate School, which earned School of Distinction classification due to the school’s high ranking, in the 97th percentile in the state. PKI’s score places them with the 83rd best score out of the state’s 712 elementary-level schools.

Last year four of five county schools included in the assessment showed gains over previous years, but this year’s gains are more impressive as overall scores improved across the board.

Assistant Superintendent Aaron Anderson said he and Acting Superintendent Mike Cash were “pleased, but not surprised” at the results.

“There was a   lot of work put in by everyone in the district to get these results,” he said. “From the bus drivers making sure the students got to school on time, the cooks keeping them fed, the custodians making our schools a clean and safe learning environment and, of course, the teachers, everyone came together to make this happen. It was a total district effort.”

“You are starting to see the results of all the changes we have made over the past two to three years.”

PKI continued their rise to the top, showing a gain over 2.9 points over last year, earning a total score of 77.5, surpassing their target score by more than 2 points.

Whitley City Elementary, which last year saw a decrease in score, gained 4.4 points in the latest assessment, exceeding their target score and returning to a proficient/progressing status with a total score of 67.4 and placing in the 71st percentile of all elementary schools in the state.

Only third grade students at Pine Knot Primary School are tested in reading and math as part of the Unbridled Learning assessment and showed a 6-point improvement overall, far passing their target score and showing the largest gain in the McCreary County School District.

With a 61.2 overall score PKP falls in the 43rd percentile in the state and is classified as a needs improvement/progressing school.

(Needs improvement signifies the overall scores fall below the 70th percentile in the state, while progressing indicates the school has met all annual measurable objectives for the year.)

McCreary Central High School met all their annual measurable objectives, except for graduation rate, and saw the overall score increase from 63.8 last year to 68.7 in 2015, a 4.9-point gain. The score places the high school in the 59th percentile in the state, moving up from the 34th last year.

The school’s graduation rate of 92.4 percent fell short of the target of 96.3, but is well ahead of the state average of 87.9.

MCHS is classified as a needs improvement school, as well as a focus school, which signifies their test data had a non-duplicated student gap score ranked in the bottom 10 percent in the state.

McCreary Middle School also saw a gain in overall scores, jumping 3.7 points to an overall score of 61.2, placing them in the 50th percentile in the state.

The McCreary County School District as a whole saw a 4-point overall gain to 68.1 points, and ranks in the top 20 percent of Kentucky school districts in the latest release.

“This is the first time the district has been classified as a proficient district, and that reflects the progress made at every level,” Anderson said.

“Obviously Pine Knot Intermediate stands out,” he continued. “Being named a School of Distinction is a big achievement for them.”

“We are expecting to see similar gains made this year, and really look to see another school earn that classification and more improvement across the board.”

Anderson added that with a new Commissioner of Education being hired, a new focus on reducing the number of students testing at the novice level will be put in place, and the McCreary County School District is ahead of that trend.”

A closer look

Pine Knot Intermediate School is the only school in the District where proficient/distinguished scores rank higher than the state average in all five categories.

Reading saw 55.1 percent of students testing at the higher levels, with only 54.2 percent of students state wide. The gaps increase down the line: 60.8 percent in math at PKI and 48.8 percent in Kentucky. 71.5 percent in social studies compared to 60.6 percent statewide. 54.7 percent in writing with only 43.8 percent in the state scoring proficient or distinguished. And in language mechanics, with 58.1 percent of PKI students testing at that level compared to 55.6 percent in Kentucky.

McCreary Central High School met their Annual Measurable Objectives in scores, but the percentage of students scoring Novice and Apprentice in some subjects is behind state averages, but closing the gap.

In writing 53.4 percent of students still tested at the Novice or apprentice level, compared to 50.1 percent statewide. 46.6 percent of students scored Proficient or distinguished, while Kentucky overall saw 50 percent.

In Language Mechanics 52.8 percent of students still tested at the Novice or apprentice level, compared to 48.5 percent statewide, while 47.2 percent of students scored Proficient or distinguished, while Kentucky overall saw 51.6 percent

End of course assessment exams are required in four classes: English II, Algebra II, Biology and U.S. History, and those results are included in the school’s overall accountability.

MCHS students saw 47.1 test at the proficient/ distinguished level in English, 28.5 in Algebra, 25.5 in Biology and 39.7 in U.S. History, all below state averages.

Anderson said the one gap score, in reading, that has placed the “focus” designation on the school is being addressed and should be eliminated next year.

“You can see the results,” he said. “Outside of one small group, they are trending up everywhere.”

McCreary Middle’s gain put them ahead of their AMO goal, but overall scores still fall below state averages.

41.9 percent of MCMS students tested at proficient or distinguished in reading compared to 53.8 in Kentucky. Similar gaps can be seen in math (29.7/42.8), social studies (54.2/58.6) and writing (34.1/43.7).

After a disappointing assessment last year, changes at Whitley City Elementary helped the school gain ground on state averages, but still lags behind in some subjects.

Students testing at the proficient/ distinguished level in reading increased by more than four percentage points to 42.8, while the state average is 54.2.

Math saw a decrease of 1.8 percentage points with 28.9 percent testing at the highest level, compared to 48.8 in the state.

Writing scores also saw a decline to 33.9 percent, with a state average of 43.8.

The language mechanics percentage increased to 40.6, but the average statewide is 55.6.

Social studies scores, with 62.1 percent testing at the proficient/ distinguished level was the only subject where scores were ahead of the state where 60.6 percent tested at that level on average.

At Pine Knot Primary, only student scores in the third grade are counted toward the overall accountability, and in only two subjects: reading and math, with improvements in both categories.

PKP reading scores show 46.8 percent of students tested at proficient or distinguished, with 54.2 as the state average – an increase of nearly 3 points. 41.8 tested at p/d in math – up 6.5 points over last year, compared to 48.8 percent in Kentucky.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education:

The Unbridled Learning: College/Career-Readiness Accountability model is based on the Kentucky Board of Education’s strategic priorities: Next-Generation Learners, Next-Generation Instructional Programs and Support and Next-Generation Professionals. In 2014-15, accountability is based only on the components of the Next Generation Learners and Next-Generation Instructional Programs and Support.

In April, the Kentucky Board of Education voted to delay the addition of Next-Generation Professionals until the 2016-17 school year.

Various component scores in each area are calculated and weighted to produce an overall score for that measure.

This year, as in the past, public schools and districts earned points, on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how well they did on the five Next-Generation Learner components:

• Achievement – student performance on tests in reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing (science is not part of accountability at the elementary and middle school levels in 2014-15)

• Gap – performance (percentage of proficient and distinguished) of students who are members of traditionally underperforming groups (ethnic minorities, special education, poverty and limited English proficiency) compared to the goal of 100 percent proficiency in all subject areas

• Growth – individual student’s score compared to the student’s academic peers to determine if typical or higher levels of growth have occurred in reading and mathematics

• College/Career-Readiness – high school graduates who successfully meet an indicator of readiness for college and/or careers

• Graduation Rate – the percentage of on-time graduates as measured by a Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Formula

To view school data and report cards, please visit: www.

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