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12/12/2012 8:48:00 AM
District 50 Board presented with analysis of test scores
Greenwood School District 50 Board of Trustees Chairman Shell Dula, center, listens to a presentation by district administrators during a special called board meeting Tuesday night. Also pictured are Board Member Tom Miller, left, and District Superintendent Dr. Darrell Johnson.
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Greenwood School District 50 Board of Trustees Chairman Shell Dula, center, listens to a presentation by district administrators during a special called board meeting Tuesday night. Also pictured are Board Member Tom Miller, left, and District Superintendent Dr. Darrell Johnson.
Rick Hendricks
Community Reporter

District administrators presented information to the Greenwood School District 50 Board of Trustees concerning various components of the district’s report card during a special called meeting Tuesday night at Genesis Education Center.

Pat Ross, assistant superintendent for instruction, told the board during the called meeting that the data is important to consider. “It’s used to measure our work, but it’s often hard to understand,” she said.

Ross and Dr. Amy Young, the district’s testing coordinator, presented the board with data on test scores from elementary to high school.

The district offers a healthy choice of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Ross said, and it is an important tool for students moving forward to score a 3 or better on the test.

“We try to get as many kids into AP courses as possible,” she said. “We had a larger number of students taking the AP courses this year.”

Young discussed the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and said there has been increased participation at both Greenwood and Emerald high schools. She said scores in reading, math and writing show a decrease, which is also the case at the state and national level.

Ross talked about the End of Course Exams, which are required by the state. Twenty percent of a student’s grade consists of the grade on the End of Course Exam. She said 80 percent of the district’s students pass the exam, compared with 82 percent statewide. Seventy-one percent of the district’s students pass the English exam, compared with 74 percent statewide, and the district’s students pass the biology exam at a higher rate than students statewide – 78 to 76 percent, respectively.

She said the U.S. History exam has been a big challenge for the district, as only 39 percent of its students passed the exam, compared with 53 percent statewide.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen to these tests once we go into the new testing mode,” Ross said. “We do know that we’ll have them through 2014.”

The district measures testing performance by subgroup and Ross said that in algebra, for example, the district is performing better than the state average, but special education students are not doing as well on the tests.

“A lot of it has to do with expectations,” Ross said. “We’re working on that to make sure our special education students are exposed to the rigor of instruction that special education students are exposed to across the state.”

She said that student performance on the tests is directly linked to the quality of instruction. “We’ve got to step it up on the rigor of instruction and get our kids passing the tests,” Ross said.

Young discussed the Graduation Requirement Test, given to students in their second year of high school. Typically, the district scores in the high 70s and low 80s and is at or above the state average.

“I assume scores will impact our funding,” Board Member Tom Miller said.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Dr. Gary Johnson said funding is more of a function of the number of students served and how those students are classified.

“(Scores) greatly impacts our training for staff development,” Johnson said.

Ross talked about the district’s report card, which is used to measure the district’s performance. “We are proud that all of our schools are average or above in our absolute ratings,” she said.

In other business, the board was presented with the updated Program of Study for the high schools. Shirley Boyce, director of secondary education, said the document is used to register students for the coming year, as well as guide and direct other students and parents in selecting the classes that will best suit their needs.

Boyce said the Program of Study is brought the board and treated as board policy in the administration of curriculum at the high schools.

Changes in the Program of Study were presented to the board at the called meeting and Boyce said the administration would ask for board approval of the document at the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting, slated for Dec. 17 at Greenwood High School.

“We ask students to get with their parents and go ahead and line up courses for four years,” Boyce said. “That gives them a vision for where they’re going beyond high school – it’s a road map for them.”

She said the Program of Study is used extensively by principals, administrators and teachers to guide students through the instructional program.

Also, the board met in executive session for about 30 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken upon the board’s return to open session.

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