Test scores reflect changes in classroom

Nov. 07, 2013 @ 05:22 PM


School systems across the state, including Guilford County Schools, got what they expected with the release of test scores on Thursday.
Because of the switch to Common Core Standards and more rigorous tests, scores for End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests are significantly lower than in previous years. But here’s the hitch: this year’s scores can’t be compared fairly to scores from previous years.
Superintendent Mo Green and Dana Wrights, chief accountability and research officer, presented the test scores and explained their meaning at a briefing on Thursday.
“While these results are not unexpected given the changes in tests, standards, curriculum and expectations, we are reviewing the data so we can make improvements,” Green said. “We know we have work to do in many areas. It’s time to set new goals and bring these scores up.” 
The district’s overall performance composite on the new tests was 43.2, which means students showed proficiency on 43.2 percent of all tests taken. A closer look at the data shows 41.1 percent proficiency in EOG reading, 41.6 percent proficiency in EOG math and 45.1 percent proficiency in EOG science. End-of-Course scores showed students were 48.4 percent proficient.
The state results are similar, with an overall performance composite of 44.7.
These result will be used as the benchmark for future scores.
The drop in test scores was not entirely due to students not learning what they needed to learn. To go along with the Common Core standards, testing switched from making sure students were on grade level to also measuring for career and college readiness. The standard for proficiency has gone up as well, which makes it more difficult for students to reach proficiency. This does not mean that students aren’t growing.
For example, using the measures for 2011-2012 testing, a student could be in the 50th percentile and achieve a Level III, which would have been considered proficient. With the 2012-13 measures, that same student could be in the 60th percentile, which would show growth, but would have dropped to a Level II, which is considered not proficient.
Although scores can’t be compared to previous years, they can be compared with state and local county scores. Guilford County Schools was less proficient in EOG reading, math and science, but more proficient in the EOC math, biology and English. For Davidson County Schools, the overall proficiency is 47.6 percent.
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617