School Updates

FC School Board seeks ways to up TCAP results

The Franklin School Board has outlined a list of target areas to improve student Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program test results.

penThe board reviewed recently released district-wide test results that show slight declines in student performance from the previous year at the grade school level in reading/ language arts, science and social studies.

At the high school level, declines occurred in algebra I and II and English III.

Dr. Rebecca Sharber, the system’s director, provided the board with a list of strategies Monday to address the weaker subject areas.They include: tending classroom practice into the community; bringing community personnel into the schools to enhance the curriculum and learning tasks for students; and engaging students, teachers, and administrators simultaneously in the learning process.

Having more instructional coaches. Increasing technological assistance Concentrating on implementing a computer textbook program, targeting the ninth grade level.

Allowing more flexibility in elementary school reading programs. Having a continued focus on middle school math to better prepare students for high school level work. More thoroughly monitoring the least effective teachers.

Increased participation in Professional Learning Communities programs.

Visiting more successful school districts to make comparisons that will improve approaches toward teaching and learning.

Board Chairman Kevin Caroland said recently that he believes the strategies are on the right track to improve next year’s TCAP scores.

“I think it is a step in the right direction,” he said. “We’re continuing to look at things that should make a difference.”

Caroland said that although a detailed program with extended reading time for students had been implemented at the elementary school level last year, it didn’t achieve its intended purpose. He added that it appeared to be too structured and didn’t offer teachers the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to their individual classrooms.

Caroland said the reading program was also in its first year, and with any new educational venture, there’s trial and error along the way. He added that the outcome should improve during the reading program’s second year.

The Tennessee Department of Education has released district-to-district results but had not broken the information down to show how students in individual schools fared with the results. The individual results will be released later.

Tennessee schools administer a comprehensive exam to their students at the end of each school year beginning in the third grade. Tests are intended to reflect what each child learned in the past year.

The tested areas include reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies in grades three through eight in what are referred to as TCAP Achievement tests.

At the high school level, tests are given under the TCAP umbrella in English 1, English II, algebra I, algebra II, biology I and U.S. history and are referred to as “End of Course” exams.

The results include these rankings:

— Below basic means those scores show the students who received them haven’t mastered the material and are not ready to advance to the next grade level. A letter-grade comparison would be an “F.”

— Basic means they partially mastered the material and are minimally ready for the next grade. In other words, “D” level.

— Proficient means those who received the scores have performed at their grade level and are ready to move ahead — “C” to “B” level.

— Advanced means the performance was superior and those students are well prepared to move ahead — “A” level work.

Sharber said she will direct her personnel to concentrate on areas where the TCAP results dictate more attention needs to be placed.

In reading/language arts, third through eighth grade, 43.4 percent were proficient or advanced, a 4.2 percent decline from the previous year. The totals include 11.7 percent being below basic, 44.9 percent were basic, 33.9 percent were proficient and 9.5 percent were advanced.

In science, third through eighth grade, 56.4 percent were proficient or advanced, a 5.4 percent decline from the previous year. The totals include 16.2 percent being at the below basic level, 27.4 percent achieving basic status, 44.9 percent being proficient and 11.5 percent reaching advanced status.

In social studies, third though eight grade, 82.8 percent were proficient or advanced, a 2.8 percent decline from the previous year. The totals include .1 percent being below basic, 17.1 percent at the basic level, 48.8 percent being proficient and 34 percent achieving advanced status.

In algebra I, ninth through 12th grade, 52.4 percent had reached proficient or advanced status, but overall, the results were 4.9 percent less than last year. The results show that 15.1 percent were below basic, 32.5 percent were basic, 25.2 percent were proficient and 27.2 percent were advanced.

In algebra II, ninth through 12th grade, 38.6 percent reached proficient or advanced status, a 1.3 percent decline from the previous year. The results include 26.6 percent being below basic, 34.8 percent achieving basic status, 25.9 percent being proficient and 12.7 percent reaching advanced status.

Sharber said the higher percentage doing well in lower-level algebra, followed by a significant reduction at the higher level, sends up a red flag.

“We’ve got to find out why that occurred,” she said. “We need to be looking at more ways to better support algebra II.”

Sharber said a similar trend occurred with English tests.

In English I, ninth through 12th grade, 65.5 percent were proficient or advanced, a 1.1 percent increase over the previous year. The totals include 7.3 percent being below basic, 27.2 percent were basic, 58.2 percent were proficient and 7.3 percent were advanced.

In English II, ninth through 12th grade, 57.5 percent were proficient or advanced, a 3.6 percent increase over last year. The totals include 12.3 percent being below basic, 30.2

were , . percent were proficient and 13.6 percent were advanced.

In English III, ninth through 12th grade, 37.1 percent were proficient or advanced, a 1 percent decline from the previous year. The totals included 24.5 percent being below basic, 38.4 percent at basic, 29.5 percent were proficient and 7.9 percent were advanced.

“What is it that we need to do to get our students in the advanced levels to do better?” Sharber said. “We need to find that out and coordinate it with the staff to do better.”

In biology I, ninth through 12th grade, 55 percent were proficient, a 1.9 percent increase over the previous year.

The totals included 17.5 percent being below basic, 27.5 percent at the basic level, 43.6 percent were proficient and 11.4 percent had reached advanced status.

In math, third through eighth grade, 43.9 percent were proficient or advanced, a 1 percent increase over the previous year. The totals include 19.2 percent being below basic, 36.8 percent at the basic level, 26.9 percent being at the basic level with 26.9 percent being proficient and 17 percent achieving advanced status.

In U.S. history I, ninth through 12th grade, 97 percent were proficient or advanced, a 2.9 percent increase over the previous year. The totals include no one at the below basic level, 3 percent being basic, 33.9 percent being proficient and 63.1 percent at the advanced level.

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