State Issues Report Card on DeKalb County Schools

November 4, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The 2007 report card on the DeKalb County School System shows overall progress, but it also reveals areas where improvement is needed.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Supervisor of Instruction Dr. Carol Hendrix met with the local media last week to explain the report.

Dr. Hendrix says the DeKalb County School System overall is in "Good Standing" regarding "No Child Left Behind" Adequate Yearly Progress. "All this is our school's ability to meet the federal benchmarks with specific performance standards. We divide it up into elementary and middle schools. We met the AYP in Math in the demographic categories of "All", "Hispanic", "White", "Economically Disadvantaged", and "Limited English Proficient", (Students that don't speak English). We were not proficient in the demographic of "Students with Disabilities"."

"When we look at Reading/Language Arts/Writing in elementary and middle schools, we were proficient in "All", "Hispanic", "White", "Economically Disadvantaged, and "Students with Disabilities" and yet not proficient in "Limited English Proficient". We have areas there we need to work on."

Dr. Hendrix says the high school met all the academic AYP benchmarks in Math and Reading Language in all demographic areas. "The only place that we did not meet academic standards was in the graduation rate."

The 2007 graduation rate was 74.5%, up from 67.6% in 2006, however Dr. Hendrix says the rate should have been higher because some students were incorrectly coded as "dropouts" and not included in the report, so the local system has filed an appeal to the state. "We have appealed and hope to know something fairly soon. I think we're sending the state 21 different student records to appeal the graduation rate. These are students who finished at the adult high school and actually graduated with the graduating class. We think if we get the appeal through, the graduation rate will be at least 80%, which is above the 75.6% rate we need. The state set the standard four years ago according to what our graduation rate was at that time and we must progressively move forward." By the year 2013-2014, DeKalb County's graduation rate must meet the state goal of 90%.

In addition to the high school, Dr. Hendrix explains that DeKalb West and Northside Elementary Schools were found in "Good Standing" with the state and that DeKalb Middle was named a "Target" School. "The high school is in good standing. It is categorized as "School Improvement 2" as a result of the graduation rate. If we meet our appeal, it will be "School Improvement 1" .

Dr. Hendrix explained that a "Target" school needs to improve in at least one specific area. "They have one year to improve before they go any higher as far as improvement standards. DeKalb Middle School is "Targeted" for two areas, "Students with Disabilities" and "Limited English Proficient".

Student Academic Achievement results for 2007 show that system-wide in grades 3 to 8, DeKalb County earned an "A" in both Math and Reading/Language and a "B" in Social Studies and Science.

In 2006, DeKalb County scored an "A" in Math and a "B" in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science.

Actual 2007 scores were as follows: 59 in math, same as 2006; 57 in Reading/Language, up from 55 in 2006; 56 in Social Studies, up from 55 in 2006; and 58 in Science, up from 57 in 2006.

2007 scores in all areas were better than the state by from one to three points.

DeKalb County earned an "A" in 5th and 8th grade writing and a "B" in 11th grade writing, the same grades as 2006.

5th and 8th grade writing scores were also slightly better than the state and below the state by three tenths of a point in 11th grade writing.

Dr. Hendrix says academic achievement grades are based on "what our students have done throughout their school career".

Achievement scores show how well students performed on their standardized achievement tests. The tests are graded according to predetermined standards, and students who answer more questions correctly get higher scores. The achievement section also includes results on the ACT, a widely accepted college entrance exam. The ACT tests students' skills in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The highest possible score is 36.

Value Added scores in the elementary grades are designed to show whether teachers were effective in helping students learn. Children are tracked from year to year to determine whether they have learned a full year's worth of material since the last test. An "A" or "B" shows that the students learned more than expected in one school year, while a "D" or "F" shows that students fell behind.

High School Valued Added scores show whether student performance on Gateway or year-end exams was above or below expectations, based on the student's previous test scores. "Above" means students improved their scores significantly more in this subject than students in an average school. "Below" means they made less progress than average. "Same" means their progress was about the same as that of students in an average school.

The 2007 DCHS Value Added results (3 year average) are as follows:
Math (Algebra 1)- Same
Science (Biology I)- Below
English (English II)- Below
Math Foundations- Below
English I- Below
Physical Science- Above
US History- Below
11th grade writing- Below

Academic ACT Achievement results (3 year average) for 2007 show that in grades 9-12, DeKalb County's scores were up in all areas except Math.

2007 scores are as follows: Composite-19.5, up from 19.2 in 2006; English- 19.3, up from 19.2; Math- 19.3, up from 17.9, Reading- 17.9, down from 20; and Science/Reasoning- 20.2, up from 19.5.

2007 scores were all below the state from eight tenths of a point to 1.9 points.

The ACT results in grades 9-12 for 2007 (individual year) show that the composite score was 19.9, up from 19.7 last year; 19.8 in English, down from 20 in 2006, 19.6 in Math, up from 18.3 last year, 18.1 in Reading, down from 20.5; and 20.9 in Science/Reasoning, up from 19.8 last year.

2007 scores were all below the state from two tenths of a point to 1.8 points.

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results for 2007 show that in grades K-8, DeKalb County scored a "C" in Math, down from a "B" in 2006 but earned an "A" in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science, the same as last year.

Dr. Hendrix says "Academic Growth is what happened in a one year window. If we look at our overall scores, we did find out that we had a problem in Math last year in the elementary grades, but we are working on that and hope to make improvement.

The following are the 2007 Academic Achievement Grades and Academic Growth (Value Added) results at each school:

DeKalb West School (2007 Academic Achievement Grades): DeKalb West scored an "A" in both Math and Reading/Language and a "B" in Social Studies and Science.

In 2006, DeKalb West scored an "A" in Math and a "B" in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science.

2007 actual scores at DeKalb West were as follows: Math- 63, up from 59 in 2006; Reading/Language-59, up from 55; Social Studies- 58, up from 55; and Science- 57, up from 54.

DeKalb West scores were better than the state in all areas from two to six points.

DeKalb West earned an "A" in 5th & 8th grade writing, the same grade as 2006, and the scores were also at or better than the state.

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results at DeKalb West School, show that the school gets all "A's" in Math, Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science. The school earned "A's" in every subject last year except for a "C" in Science.

DeKalb Middle School (2007 Academic Achievement Grades): DeKalb Middle scored an "A" in Math and Reading/Language, a "C" in Social Studies, and a "B" in Science.

In 2006, DeKalb Middle School scored a "B" in Math, Reading/Language, and Science, and a "C" in Social Studies.

2007 actual scores at DeKalb Middle School were as follows: Math- 56, up from 55 last year; Reading/Language- 57, up from 55; Social Studies- 51, the same as last year; and Science- 55, down from 56 last year.

Compared to the state, DeKalb Middle School scores were the same in Science, down by three points in Social Studies, up by one point in Reading/Language, and down by one point in Math.

DeKalb Middle School earned an "A" in 8th grade writing, one tenth of a point better than last year, and two tenths of a point better than the state

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results at DeKalb Middle School, show that the school gets a "B" in Math, the same as last year; an "A" in Reading/Language, the same as last year; an "F" in Social Studies, down from a "D" last year; and a "C" in Science, down from a "B" last year.

Northside Elementary School (2007 Academic Achievement Grades): Northside Elementary scored an "A" in Math, Social Studies, and Science, and a "B" in Reading/Language.

In 2006, Northside Elementary scored an "A" in Math, a "B" in Reading/Language and Social Studies, and an "A" in Science.

2007 actual scores at Northside Elementary were as follows: Math- 61, down from 62 last year. Reading/Language- 56, the same as last year. Social Studies- 60, up from 58 last year. Science- 62, up from 61 last year.

Compared to the state, Northside Elementary scores were up by four points in Math, the same in Reading/Language, up by six points in Social Studies, and up by seven points in Science.

Northside Elementary earned an "A" in 5th grade writing, the same as last year, two tenths of a point better than the state.

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results at Northside Elementary show that the school made an "F" in Math, down from a "C" last year; a "B" in Reading/Language, up from a "C" in 2006; and and "A" in both Social Studies and Science, the same as last year.

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