(Posted Oct. 17, 2019)
By Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer
Madison-Plains Local Schools received a letter grade of C on their district report card, which measures performance on state tests, for the 2018-19 school year.
The district ranked slightly higher overall than in 2017-18 due to rising graduation rates and rising progress rates, which measures students’ individual improvement in scores over time.
Reported scores for the elementary, junior high and high school were the same in 2018-19 as in 2017-18, at a B, B and C, respectively. The intermediate school rose by one letter grade, from C to B.
The district’s score is average statewide and across Madison County, but its progress rate is two standard deviations higher than Madison County’s average.
The progress rate is determined by comparing students’ most recent state test scores to a projection of their expected scores based on past performance. A rising progress rate in the district shows that most Madison-Plains students are improving on state tests over time.
“We really have a strong focus on growth for our students,” said Karen Grigsby, director of curriculum. “We recognize that not every student may pass that one test that one point in time but that we want all of them to achieve at their highest level.”
However, the district struggled to produce score growth in students with disabilities, Grigsby said. This year, the district implemented a reading intervention program for students with disabilities from kindergarten through sixth grade.
The district also aims to raise its English language arts and math test scores across all grade levels.
In 2017, the district set two goals for testing in language arts and math: 90 percent of students should meet or surpass their expected growth and projected scores by the 2019-20 school year, and 80 percent of students should pass those tests in 2019-20.
In 2018-19, 83 percent of students met expected growth or higher and 66 percent of students passed the language arts and math tests.
The district has already seen growth in their progress rates, which improved from a C to a B this year. But district achievement scores on state tests have remained at a D, an average score in Madison County, for the past three years.
To raise student growth and test scores by next year, the district implemented more reading and writing programs, focusing on novel reading rather than packeted reading, Grigsby said.
“We want our parents and constituents to believe and trust us that we’re doing the best for their kids,” Grigsby said.