Two other schools made expected growth over the 2007-08 school year.
The Richmond County Board of Education was presented with standardized testing results from 2007-08 at its regular meeting Tuesday night by RCS Director of Testing and Accountability Steve Lear.
The turnaround high school list was compiled by Gov. Mike Easley’s office in 2005, grouping together high schools that weren’t achieving at a 60 percent proficiency rate on standardized tests for comparison and tracking as part of the No Child Left Behind Act.
RSHS had roughly 50 percent of its students achieve at the 60 percent rate in 2006-07, but saw a nearly 14 percent jump in that rate in 2007-08, when 64 percent of its students reached that benchmark.
“Richmond Senior High School was recognized as making tremendous progress on this list,” Lear told the board. “... It was actually the seventh highest on this list. I think that reflects a lot of hard work by students, teachers and staff.”
In addition, Lear presented the board with bar graphs tracking testing scores in math, reading, writing, computer skills, and end of course testing at the high school level from 2005 to 2008.
“What we’d like to see out of these graphs is incremental progression, so that they would rise every year,” Lear said.
He also explained the scale system that the state utilizes to grade the testing, and the way that these scores are mapped from year to year to show the progress of an individual student.
On end of grade math testing for grades three through eight, every grade saw the number of students demonstrating proficiency in the subject rise from the previous year.
Reading scores could not be compared with scores from previous years for three reasons, Lear told the board.
“First of all, there was a new curriculum introduced, and there was a new assessment utilized which typically takes some time to reach the former level of performance,” he said. “But I think more significantly, the test was renormed.”
He explained that the renorming of tests deals with the bell curve concept of scoring students work. When a test is renormed, the target area of proficiency is adjusted to reflect student’s scores, making it more difficult to attain the proficiency level.
In total, 40 percent of students in grades three through eight demonstrated proficiency in reading, and no single grade level saw 50 percent of its students demonstrate proficiency.
End of course testing on high school level subjects including Algebra I and II, biology, geometry, U.S. History and others, saw an increase from past years in every subject that retained the EOC test from previous years, with the exception of English I. There was a 2.5 percent reduction, from 69 percent in 2006-07, to 66.5 percent in 2007-08.
Just under half of the students who took the writing test in fourth, seventh and 10tj grades demonstrated proficiency, which was over 10 percent higher than the scores from the previous year.
“We had the highest year since this testing began,” Lear said. “Unfortunately, it comes at a time when the state is changing the test.”
Beginning this school year, only 10th graders will take the writing test.
Computer skill proficiency dropped off from around 75 percent in 2006-07, to about 68 percent in 2007-08.
Vice Chairman Kenneth Goodman requested that Lear compile data comparing scores in this school system with other school systems with similar demographics. Board member Ed Ormsby requested that Lear compile data comparing the system’s scores with those of the state and the region.
Lear said that he would retrieve that data and present it to the board at a later date.
In order to reach expected growth, 60 percent of the students taking the tests have to demonstrate proficiency.
Thirteen schools in the system met expected growth goals. Those schools were: Ashley Chapel, Fairview Heights, L.J. Bell, Monroe Avenue, Richmond Early College, West Rockingham, Leak Street, Cordova, Hoffman, Mineral Springs, Richmond Primary, Rohanen Primary and Washington Street.
Of these 13, all but Leak Street and Washington Street met high growth goals.
In order to be a high growth school, students who demonstrated proficiency before have to make even higher scores.