NA, Union Co. ponder test results

While both New Albany and Union County School Districts saw some good improvement in certain areas of the 2009-2010 state test results released last week, school officials say there is still room to improve.

New Albany School District Superintendent Charles Garrett said there was not much overall change between the 2008-09 scores and the new results.

“Overall, our test scores at the district were 170 this year,” Garrett said. “Last year, they were 181. This year is very similar to last year. This is the first time that our scores have not increased in five or six years. We prefer to see them improving.”

Garrett did however, remark that students math test scores in the lower grades remained strong.

“The strengths that we see were in Elementary Math in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades,” Garrett said.  “Those scores were in the highest 3rd or 4th percent in the state.”

Other strengths included scores among 6th graders, as well as among high school students who took the U.S. History Subject Area Test, where there was a 98.4 percent passing rate.

Garrett also commended Algebra teacher Melissa Tate.

“Everybody that took her Algebra I in the 8th grade scored advanced,” Garrett said.

Union County School District Assistant Superintendent Ron Scott said that, overall, the administration feels pretty good about its students’ test scores as well, but recognized there is still work to do.

“The bar is supposed to be raised this year, so we have still have some work to do in order to meet those standards,” Scott said.

The bar Scott refers to is the designations of schools ranging from Star to Failing under the state’s accountability model. In order for a Star school to remain so will require students to raise their test scores each year.

Scott said that the district saw improvement overall in its Algebra I Subject Area Test scores significantly over last year, from 68.5 percent in 2008-09 to 94 percent.

“Overall, we also probably improved as a district in grades 3-6,” Scott said.

Scott did say that areas that need to improve include students at the junior high level.

“We still have some work to do in the 7th and 8th grade, and I think that’s the same all across the state,” Scott said.

He went on to say that the district is examining ways in which to bolster these areas and improve scores this year.

“I think we’re in the process now of looking to see what type of professionals activities we can do to improve those areas,” Scott said.  “We used professionals development days at the beginning of this school year to analyze test scores, and we’re working in different grade levels to see what methods would help us.” 

 For a complete list of test results, see Friday's edition of the New Albany Gazette.