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Most local schools improving, according to state measurement

POSTED: April 21, 2014 10:36 a.m.

Most Hall County schools and some Gainesville schools have improved in the past year, according to the state’s new scoring guidelines.

Twenty-five of the 34 Hall schools saw improvement on the College and Career Ready Performance Index, the state’s accountability system for schools, implemented last year to report school ratings on a scale of 0 to 100.

“Overall, we’re pleased with the gain that you see in 75 percent of our district schools,” said Kevin Bales, Hall’s middle grades school improvement specialist.

According to Bales, the more substantial gains from the previous year are at Sardis Enrichment, McEver Elementary and South Hall Middle schools.

The highest-scoring school was Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy with 84.2, and the lowest-scoring school was Lanier Career Academy’s high school, at 36.1.

Hall’s World Language Academy middle school was one of the higher scores in 2013 with an 82.6. However, it was also one of the schools that saw a decrease, from last year’s recalculated score of 92.2.

The index is using a new formula this year to determine school ratings, causing confusion for some. Original 2012 scores cannot be compared to 2013 scores unless the 2012 scores are recalculated using the new formula.

West Hall High’s score also fell, from a recalculated 72.8 to 63.7.

“We knew they would be down a bit,” Bales said. “That’s one school we are continuing to support.”

Overall, the district jumped from a total score of 66.8 in 2012 to 70.9.

Three of the eight scored Gainesville schools improved, Fair Street International Baccalaureate School jumping more than 20 points from a 49.6 to 70.7.

“Fair Street improved dramatically,” Gainesville Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said. “However, they had suffered from a low test report the year that they were displaced and moving. So, there’s a reason for that.

“The rest of them, the difference is in the recalculation.”

Gainesville’s highest-scoring school was New Holland Core Knowledge Academy, with an 83.5. Wood’s Mill Academy was lowest, with 43.5.

Jamey Moore, Gainesville’s director of curriculum and instruction, said Wood’s Mill provides “innovative opportunities” for students to get a high school education in a nontraditional atmosphere. The index results don’t necessarily reflect the quality of work that’s being done, he said.

“We would like to see the CCRPI weighted in such a way that it would give more credit to the work that’s being done,” Moore said.

The city district saw an overall increase from 68.9 in 2012 to 71.6 for 2013.

“We’re happy to see an overall gain for our schools,” Moore said. “Our elementary schools showed the greatest gains ... which will build a strong foundation for future growth at our middle and high schools.”

The score comes from calculating achievement, progress and gaps in achievement between the bottom 25 percent of scores and the state average. Originally, achievement made up 70 percent of the equation, with the other two equaling 15 percent each.

“At the district level, we were disappointed in the formula changes that had occurred from the previous year to this year,” Bales said. “But we’re pleased with the state that they went back and recalculated 2012 scores based on the current year’s business rules.

“We feel like this is a much more accurate representation of growth.”

This year, achievement accounts for 60 percent, while progress has more emphasis at 25 percent.

Overall, using the recalculated scores, Georgia saw improvements in elementary and middle schools statewide; high school performance decreased from an average of 73 to 72.

“Many people have worked hard to make sure the CCRPI provides the most accurate, effective measure possible of the work schools are doing to prepare students for success,” Georgia School Superintendent John Barge said in a news release.


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