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Wetzel County Schools Get New Report Card

October 30, 2013
BY LAUREN MATTHEWS - Staff Writer (lriggs@wetzelchronicle.com) , Wetzel Chronicle

If you think taking a test in school was difficult, just try to decipher the results. That is exactly what educators and concerned citizens are trying to do now that the West Virginia Department of Education has released Elementary and Secondary Education Act index information.

"The ranking system is new for us and everyone," noted Wetzel County Superintendent of Schools Dennis Albright.

Albright was referencing the new accountability system the state has created. The West Virginia Department of Education website, (wvde.state.wv.us/) describes the creation of the system as its own, after receiving a waiver approval to "free our public schools from certain federal rules and deadlines" which "fell under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act."

Article Photos

EASEA Index Results
(Graphic by Amy Witschey)

The WVDE website further states that every public school in the state is now designated as a success, transition, focus, support, or priority school.

"The good thing is there are no priority schools in Wetzel County," said Albright.

Albright highlighted the fact that Paden City High School was ranked as a success school, but did not hide the fact that there are four support schools in the county-Hundred High School, Long Drain School, Short Line School and Paden City Elementary School. In the middle are two transition schools, Magnolia and Valley high schools, and one focus school, New Martinsville School.

Albright was optimistic, stating that Wetzel County is working on the issue, with help from the Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA)."

Statewide, of 652 schools, just over 28 percent (184 schools) met both student performance and growth expectations and earned a success designation. Another 39 percent of schools (251 schools) earned a transition designation because they showed some progress in meeting either student proficiency or student growth goals. There were also 97 focus schools, 89 support, and 31 priority.

Albright added, "There is an index every school needs to reach . . . everyone here really works hard . . . This is not a weak school system."

The index target is perhaps the most puzzling piece in understanding the new system. Liza Cordeiro of the WVDE Communication Office said the target is set by the WVDE. When asked how it is set, she said it is too complicated to explain so the general public can understand. They looked at past performance, including WesTest scores, student academic growth, and gaps between student groups.

For instance, in Wetzel County, the index targets ranged from 71.3588 percent for Magnolia High School to 43.1392 percent for Hundred High School. So even though MHS attained an index of 63.2308 percent, the highest in the county, they are still categorized as a transition school because they didn't meet their index target. Hundred High School attained a 32.033 percent index, the lowest high school score in the state, yet they are a support school, not a priority school, based on the differential to their target index.

"It is important for our schools to understand that the new accountability system is not about comparing one school to another," added state Superintendent of Schools James Phares. "The system is about keeping your eye on the finishing line despite where a student starts and moving that individual student forward to proficiency."

The index score is made up of proficiency (40 percent of the index score); achievement gaps closed-how much the school has closed its achievement gap between groups of students (20 percent of the index); observed growth (15 percent of the index); adequate growth (20 percent of the index); attendance rate (five percent of the index) or graduation rate (five percent of the index), depending on whether the school is an elementary/middle school or high school.

The following data shows how Wetzel County Schools measured up:

Valley High School, transition school; index, 39.4096 percent; index target, 49.3424 percent; met index target, no; next year's target, 52.5402 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets, yes; met participation rate indicator, yes; proficiency, 21.51 percent; achievement gaps closed, 0 percent; observed growth, 29.60 percent of the possible points earned; adequate growth, 7.50 percent of the possible points earned; graduation rate, 84.50 percent of possible points earned.

Short Line School, support school; index, 30.5247 percent; index target, 43.1416 percent; next year's target, 46.265 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets in math and reading, no; met participation rate indicator, yes; proficiency, 17.45 percent; achievement gaps closed, 55.75 percent; observed growth, 26.53 percent; adequate growth, 17.50 percent; attendance rate, 98.40 percent.

Hundred High School, support school; index, 32.033 percent; index target, 43.1392 percent; next year's target, 47.2231 percent; met index target, no; next year's target, 47.2231 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets in math and reading, no; met participation rate indicator, yes; proficiency, 5.91 percent; observed growth, 18.80 percent; adequate growth, 10 percent; graduation rate, 89.50 percent.

Long Drain School, support school; index, 38.4675 percent; index target, 53.269 percent; met index target, no; next year's target, 54.9456 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets in math and reading, no; met participation rate indicator, yes; proficiency, 33.03 percent; achievement gap closed, 43.60 percent; observed growth, 37.53 percent; adequate growth, 30 percent; attendance rate, 98.20 percent.

Magnolia High School, transition school; index score, 63.2308 percent; index target, 71.3588 percent; met target, no; next year's target, 71.4113 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets in reading and math, yes; met participation rate indicator, yes; proficiency, 49.63 percent; achievement gaps closed, 56.50 percent; observed growth, 50 percent; adequate growth, 42.50 percent; graduation rate, 92.70 percent.

New Martinsville School, focus school; index score, 41.869 percent; index target, 49.5948 percent; met target, no; next year's target, 51.7963 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets in math and reading, no; met participation rate indicator yes; proficiency, 29.65 percent; achievement gaps closed, 39.95 percent; observed growth, 64.07 percent; adequate growth, 37.50 percent; attendance rate, 98.20 percent.

Paden City High School, success school; index score, 60.2029 percent; index target, 50.2772 percent; met target index, yes; next year's target, 53.3414 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets in math and reading, yes; met participation rate indicator, yes; proficiency, 45.09 percent; achievement gaps closed, 69.10 percent; observed growth, 62.60 percent; adequate growth, 45 percent; graduation rate, 76.60 percent.

Paden City Elementary School, support school; index score, 30.665 percent; index target, 46.6785 percent; met index target, no; next year's target, 50.677 percent; met at least 50 percent of targets in math and reading, no; met participation rate indicator, yes; proficiency, 21.45 percent; achievement gaps closed, 35.50 percent; observed growth, 33.33 percent; adequate growth, 25 percent; attendance rate, 99.60 percent.

The state average for proficiency was 39.891 percent for high schools, with the highest scoring high school earning 86.0376 percent. The lowest scoring high school earned 5.9091 percent. State average for achievement gaps closed was 57.0334 percent, with the highest scoring high school earning 98.7959 percent. The lowest scoring high school earned 28.1682 percent.

The state average, growth-wise, was 49.9574 percent for high schools, with the highest scoring high school earning 100 percent. The lowest scoring high school earned 6.25 percent.

As to adequate growth-how close students are from reaching their grade level expectations, the state average was 34.6522 percent for high schools. The highest scoring high school earned 95 percent, whereas the lowest scoring high school earned zero percent.

The state average graduation rate was 80.8129 percent for high schools, with the highest earning high school earning 100 percent and the lowest earning 46.45 percent.

The state proficiency average was 44.0148 for middle schools, with the highest scoring middle school earning 91.5065 percent and the lowest scoring earning 7.3247 percent.

As for achievement gaps closed, the state average was 52.0105 percent for middle schools, with the highest scoring middle school earning 80.6769 percent and the lowest earning 27.8714 percent.

Observed growth state average was 51.4458 percent for middle schools, with the highest score being 93.75 percent and lowest being 18.75 percent.

Adequate growth state average was 42.5645, with highest being 100 percent and lowest being zero.

State attendance average was 97.1912 percent for middle schools, with highest being 99.61787 percent and lowest being 90.5283 percent.

The state average for proficiency for elementary schools was 42.0423 percent for elementary schools, with highest score being 98.8199 percent and lowest being 4.1672 percent.

Achievement gaps closed state average for elementary schools was 59.5104 percent for elementary schools, with highest being 100 percent and lowest being 24.3 percent.

State average for observed growth was 56.193 percent for elementary schools, with highest being 100 percent and lowest being 12.5 percent.

In terms of adequate growth, the state average was 47.5674 percent for elementary schools, with highest being 100 percent and lowest being zero.

The state average for attendance rate was 97.8618 percent for elementary schools, with the highest scoring elementary school earning 99.9737 percent of points and the lowest earning 88.7491 percent of points.

"The release of this data is important for our students, teachers, and schools," said Phares. "This year's results include a mixture of positive results as well as several areas that must be improved. Most importantly, we know our teachers and students should be applauded for their hard work and efforts because even though the statewide assessment became more intense in 2010, the majority of our students continued to show growth."

When asked about the Next Generation Standards, West Virginia's version of the arguably controversial, nationwide Common Core curriculum, Albright stated that he likes the basis of common core. "It creates a level playing field," he stated, referencing the fact that Common Core creates a standardized, nationwide curriculum.

However, Albright also seems to think positively of the state board's tailoring of the common core standards-to the new, next generation standards. "It's tailored to meet our needs," he noted.

Albright also takes pride of Wetzel County Schools' use of technology, noting that the county has more than what other counties have. "Some counties are still running dial-up," he noted.

As for his role of superintendent, a job he just acquired this past summer, Albright is enthused and optimistic about his job. He stated that he was in 35 different classrooms in September.

When asked what he has enjoyed the most thus far, Albright responded that he enjoyed seeing some of the special events, including community events-he noted Magnolia's Lifetime Achievement banquet, as well as Hundred High School's homecoming.

Albright also specifically mentioned a program recently held at Paden City High School, where six students were recognized for their achievements. The event, sponsored by businesses in the community, allowed these six students to each receive $250.

Albright best described these functions as "rewarding."

 
 

 

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