School Improvement at RCS

On Tuesday, the 3-8 Math and ELA scores for 2011-12 were released from the State. Today’s Jamestown Post-Journal printed an article about the release entitled “Falling Behind”. In the article they list the State “Meeting Standard” percentages and the Chautauqua County “Meeting Standards” percentages. A 3 or a 4 as referenced in this blog post is what the Post Journal article references when they say “Meeting Standard”. It’s a four point scale on all 3-8 Math and ELA tests, a 4 being the best. On the twelve measures referenced in the article, Randolph Central exceeds the State “Meeting Standard” levels on seven of them.

I’m excited to report our results in detail, especially given the memo that accompanied the State results from Commissioner King and Chancellor Tisch. They reported that there was incremental improvement across the state, that 55.1% (52.8% last year) of grade 3-8 students across the State met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard (a 3 or a 4) and that 64.8 % (63.3% last year) met or exceeded the standard in math (a 3 or a 4).

You will see below that we have seen much more than incremental gains in most areas. I know we’re not as far as we’d like to be, but we’re taking the right steps—as evidenced by the improvements here–to get there.

Our results in Grade 3, ELA and Math, were very strong with 62.2% in ELA and 79.6% in Math achieving a 3 or a 4.   This was one of our strongest grade levels last year and continues to be this year. In fact, in my analysis of 20 Catt and Chautauqua county districts, Grade 3 Math achieved the highest mean scale score of any other school!

Grade 4 made HUGE gains, with 64.9% at a 3 or 4 in ELA, up from 35% last year and 70.2% in Math, up from 52%.

Grade 5 also showed significant improvement with 51.6% of our students at a 3 or a 4 in ELA, up from 37% last year, and 58.1% in Math, up from last year’s 52%.

Grade 6 continues to need work. They showed little to no gains through the year on our iReady diagnostic assessments and their state results have 46.5% at a 3 or a 4 in ELA, down from 66% last year and Math at 39.4%, down from 62%. HOWEVER, please note that this same group was only at 37% in ELA last year and at 52% last year–thus this group of students DID grow from last year. 

Grade 7: we need improvement here. They are at 57% for ELA and 57.7% for Math, down from 67% and 65% respectively. Our entire system needs to improve in the area of Math and you can see above that we’re getting there at the youngest grades, but that leaves a transition period for those in the middle. As one of our BOE members, Julie Milliman, often says, “it’s great that we’re improving for our youngest students but we have to make sure we’re taking care of the students caught in the middle between NYS’s old standards and the new, more rigorous common core curriculum.” She’s right. That’s why we’ve added Math support through 1.5 new Academic support teachers at grades 5-8, so that they can focus on the individual gaps our neediest students have while classroom teachers continue to help students through the more rigorous common core curriculum.

Grade 8 did very well— with 71.2% of students at 3 or 4, up from 43% in ELA and 72.9% in Math, up from 50%. SIGNIFICANT gains!

This isn’t a single class or teacher problem or success. It’s a systemic issue–one which absolutely requires us to work closely as a District, making solid, data based decisions that improve learning for our students. Every decision we make has to be centered on what’s best for learning—how will it affect our students and their achievement?

We have much analysis left to be done, including by student and teacher. Our admin team is busy at work asking questions like which teachers saw the greatest gains, where and why? If any students are at a level 1 and they aren’t SPED, what’s happening there? And then the analysis of what did we do that had a significant impact? Where did our teachers most fully align to the common core curriculum and what was the result? How did iReady diagnostic and interim testing affect our results? What about the other programs we’ve implemented? What did teachers do differently, or not, and how did it impact scores?

Couple the gains on these assessments with our 8 point gains in HS and MS rankings for Business First this last year and I’d say we are truly starting to see the fruits of our labor. Remember that Business First includes four years of data and other schools are trying to improve too, so an 8 point gain in the ranking is significant.

I’m really pleased and proud of everyone who contributed, thank you so much for your hard work. We’re going to get there!! Our faculty, staff and administration have always worked hard. I love that we’re all working hard with focus on the same goal of an aligned, rigorous curriculum. And the end result? College and career ready students who leave Randolph with every advantage because we’ve maximized their learning all along the way. WAY TO GO RCS!

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  1. Pingback: G-Town Talks 2.0, from Randolph Central - Is it Just About Test Scores?

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