State releases test scores
SALYERSVILLE – The Kentucky Department of Education released 2018-2019 test scores this week, with Magoffin County elementary schools rated four-out-of-five stars and the middle school and high school each rated two stars.
Since this is the first round of testing to use the star ratings, all schools in the state were rated from one (being the lowest ranking) to five (being the best) stars, based on their proficiency (in reading and math), the separate academic indicator (science, social studies and writing in elementary and middle schools and science and writing in high school), and growth from the previous year (elementary and middle schools only), as well transition readiness and the graduation rate (high schools only).
“When you look at our scores compared to other schools in the area, we’re holding our own,” Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton said. “There’s plenty of room for improvement, but overall I’m pleased with the scores. I’m not happy with certain areas, but our teachers and students are working to improve and there’s room to grow.”
Helton said he’s talked with the principals and they’re in agreement they need to focus on reading and math proficiency at the middle school and high school levels, and keep in mind how to improve scores at each subgroup (free/reduced lunch, students with IEPs, etc.).
“If you let one group fall behind, you’ll have a problem that will affect your scores,” Helton explained.
He also noted that Magoffin County has a high percentage of “economically disadvantaged” students, with 79.6% of all students tested in the spring considered income-eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
One area of weakness Helton pointed out was attendance rates district-wide, at 90.7% last school year.
“We can’t teach your children if they’re not at school,” Helton said. “That affects their education, our test scores, everything.”
Magoffin County High School: 2 Stars
Of the four categories tested, MCHS scored below state average in three of the four subjects. MCHS had an overall proficiency rating of 40.6 out of 125 points possible, which is considered “very low,” compared to the state’s “medium” rating of 56.8 out of 125. While reading and math were weighted, they were also tested in writing and science, receiving the following proficiency rates (state average in parenthesis): reading 30.1% (44.5%), math 21.3% (35.3%), writing 54.1% (50.3%), and science 11.1% (29.9%). They scored low, but close to the state average in transition readiness with 66.4 out of 125, compared to the state’s 66.8, and was above the state’s average for the graduation rate, with a 94.7%, compared to 91.1% for the state.
Magoffin County High School Principal Chris Meadows told the Independent, “After reviewing assessment data at MCHS, we have learned that we have areas for celebration and areas for improvement. We were pleased to see significant improvements in writing and transition readiness (academic and/or career ready). In addition to these improvements, we were also pleased with our high graduation rate - 94.7%. Our focus for improvement is in the areas of reading and math proficiency. Novice reduction continues to be our goal for improving reading and math scores.”
Herald Whitaker Middle School: 2 Stars
In each of the five categories tested, HWMS scored below the state average in proficiency, receiving an overall score of 66.8 out of 125 in proficiency, compared to the state’s 72.3. In reading, they had a 45.7% proficiency rate (compared to the state’s 59.6%), math 38.1% (46.4%), writing 19.4% (31.9%), social studies 41.3% (58.8%) and science 10% (26%). They scored “very low” in the separate academic indicator rating, with 50.9 points out of 125 (compared to the state’s 63.3), and “medium” in growth, with 56.4 points of out 300 (compared to the state average of 52.5).
North Magoffin Elementary: 4 Stars
North Magoffin Elementary scored significantly higher than state average in proficiency, with 79.6 out of 125, compared to the state’s average of 70.4. In the five subjects tested, NME scored above the state average in four of the subjects, with the following proficiency rates: reading 69.5% (54.6%), math 57.5% (48.6%), writing 74.1% (46.6%), social studies 48.1% (53%) and science 46.2% (31.7%). They ranked “high” in the separate academic indicator with 78.4 points out of 125 (compared to the state’s “medium” score of 64.7), and they ranked “medium” in growth, with 58.9 points out of 300 (compared to the state’s “medium” score of 57.7).
Salyersville Grade School: 3 Stars
While Salyersville Grade School is the only grade school in the 3-star category, they are also the only school in the district that tested above state averages of proficiency in every subject, receiving the following scores: reading 64.4% (state average 54.6%), math 58.2% (48.6%), writing 67.1% (46.6%), social studies 68.6% (53%), and science 48.3% (31.7%). Their overall proficiency and separate academic indicator were both classified in the high range, with 79.4 out of 125 in proficiency (state average 70.4) and 79.6 out of 125 in separate academic indicator (64.7).
The area that hurt SGS the most, knocking them just tenths of a point from being a 4-star school, was growth, where they scored 54 out of 300 (state average 57.7).
Superintendent Helton explained the state-classified “low” level of growth was due to their math scores being so high the previous year and had a slight decline this year, so even though their math scores were almost 10% above the state average, it dropped their overall score.
SGS Principal Gary R. Helton said, “After reviewing our assessment results, it is apparent that we missed the 4-Star ranking by .2 tenths of a point. After analyzing the data results, SGS is on par or exceeding the district and state in the areas of Proficiency and Separate Academic Indicators. While 79.4% of our students scored Proficient or Distinguished in the areas of Reading and Math and 79.6% of our students scored Proficient or Distinguished in the areas of Science, Social Studies, and Writing, our Growth indicator was not as high which cost SGS the .2 tenths of a point and the 4 Star status. Last year, our focus area in our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan was in the area of Writing. Through some changes to our schedule, staff assignments, and curriculum, we improved our Writing scores by 45.4%, which is outstanding. Now we will focus on continuing our progression to 100% Proficiency of all students, increasing our Growth rating, and revising our curriculum to meet the needs of our students.”
South Magoffin Elementary: 4 Stars
South Magoffin Elementary scored at a medium rate in proficiency (74 out of 125, compared to state average of 70.4) and separate academic indicator (63.5 out of 125, compared to state average 64.7), but scored very highly in growth, with 73.8 out of 300, compared to the state average of 57.7. In the five categories tested, they scored above the state average in proficiency for three of the subjects, receiving the following scores: reading 67.3% (state average 54.6%), math 38.8% (48.6%), writing 40% (46.6%), social studies 60% (53%), and science 36% (31.7%).
SME first-year Principal Steve Cole said, “We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication that the students and staff of South Magoffin Elementary put forth to earn a four-star rating from KDE. We will analyze and use this data to maximize our efforts to promote our students’ progress, and to better meet their educational needs."
The full test scores from the Kentucky Department of Education is available at kyschoolreportcard.com, where individual schools’ scores are available, as well as different schools and districts can be compared side-by-side. Parents can also check on their students’ individual test scores by contacting their schools. For more information about the district’s test scores, contact the Magoffin County Schools central office.