CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Times-Tribune Staff Writer
The Kentucky School Report Card is out, and for all public school districts in the Tri-County region, 2013 was a very good year. All seven of them showed overall gains in the second year of the state Department of Education’s “Unbridled Learning” assessment and accountability model.
The scores and information were released Friday.
Officials in Frankfort said the data showed students’ performance, college and career readiness, and the number of high school students graduating were on the upswing across the state.
Most of those results were improving — and encouraging — to the region’s schools as well.
District-wide, the Corbin Independent Schools didn’t get the “District of Distinction” designation as they did last year. But for the second straight year, they were classified as “Distinguished” by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
The Williamsburg Independent Schools got the “Proficient” classification for the second straight year, while the Whitley County Schools upgraded from “Needs Improvement” to “Proficient/Progressing” for the 2012-13 school year.
Laurel County Schools also got a boost in their ranking, moving up from “Needs Improvement” to “Proficient.”
While Both Knox County and Barbourville Independent are still classified by the state in the “Needs Improvement” category, the two districts improved their overall scores from a year ago.
And East Bernstadt Independent made a big overall gain, earning them the designation of “Needs Improvement/Progressing.” As a result of their score rising over 10 points from last year, the state rewarded the small school district in Laurel County as a High Progress District.
As they did in 2012, the state’s report card had Corbin Independent with the highest marks in the region.
District-wide, Corbin’s overall score in 2013 was 67.2, a small gain from last year’s 66.9.
Their Percentile Rank in Kentucky was at 98, a point above the 97 they received a year ago. And for two years in a row, Corbin Independent was classified as a Distinguished district.
“According to the Kentucky Department of Education, the 2013 overall average state score is 57.3. Corbin schools overall score of 67.2 puts the district nearly 10 points above the state average. … It appears that the district is ranked as the 6th highest scoring K-12 district in the state. The Corbin School District has a history of academic excellence being ranked in the Top 10 out of 174 Kentucky school districts for more than five years consecutively,” Corbin Independent’s Superintendent, Ed McNeel, said Friday.
The state Department of Education classifies a school district or individual school as “Distinguished” if their score is in the top 10 percent of schools or districts from a particular level, or between the 90th to 99th percentile across Kentucky.
Of the individual schools in the city district, Corbin Middle School was the highest performer.
Their overall score was 73.5, an improvement from 67.7 in 2012. Percentile rank-wise, it went up as well, showing a 98, compared to 94 a year ago.
The KDE classified Corbin Middle as Distinguished/Progressing, with the school being rewarded as a School of Distinction.
The state notes that a “School or District of Distinction” has a score from the 95th to 99th percentile in the state, meets the student participation rate, and the graduation rate is above 60. Also, the school or district can’t be labeled as “Priority” or “Focus.”
“Distinguished/Progressing” means the school or district has scores from the 90th to 99th percentile in the state, has met their AMO — their Annual Measurable Objective, which is based on the improvement of the overall score.
For 2013, the KDE set the goal as a one point improvement of the overall score. It also means the district or school has met their participation rate for the all students group and each subgroup, and has met its graduation rate goal.
Corbin Intermediate came in with 66.6 overall score, compared to 63.2 last year. Their percentile rank was up as well, at an 83 this year, compared to 73 in 2012. And they got an upgrade from Proficient to Proficient/Progressing in the span of a year.
A school or district is classified as “Proficient” if their score is in the 70th to 89th percentile statewide.
They’re classified “Proficient/Progressing” if the school or district’s score is in the 70th to 89th statewide percentile, meet their AMO, meet their participation rate for the all students group and subgroup, and meet their graduation rate goal.
McNeel noted, “The Corbin Independent School District continues to rank on state test scores near the top of all K-12 Kentucky school districts, and the credit goes directly to our teachers, school administrators and support staff. Our staff members pour their hearts into providing every child with the best education. We will always strive to improve opportunities for our students.”
As the state did last year, Corbin Intermediate was placed in the Elementary School category, even though the school’s grade range is 5th and 6th Grades.
Corbin Elementary School had a 64.7 overall score this year, giving them a percentile rank of 78, which earned them a Proficient classification. That’s down from 2012, when the school had a 70.9 score, a rank of 92, a Distinguished designation and was rewarded as a Highest Performing School.
For Corbin High School, the new scores saw them with an overall 63.8, compared to 66.5 in 2012. Their percentile rank this year came to 88, below last year’s 94.
As a result, the state classified Corbin High as Proficient, which is below last year’s Distinguished rank.
The state did not test Corbin Primary School, which was again not listed in the scores.
For 2013, the Whitley County Schools district had an overall score of 61.5, up from last year’s 55.8.
Their percentile rank skyrocketed from last year’s 54 to this year’s 86, which earned the district a Proficient/Progressing classification.
Superintendent Scott Paul said Friday the district was the only one in the Tri-County region to meet all three delivery targets — Annual Measurable Objective, Participation Rate and Graduation Rate.
“While we are certainly not where we want to be, we are encouraged by the gains we have seen district-wide. It tells us that our instructional staff, both at the district and school level, are on the right track,” he added.
This year, Whitley County High School had an overall score of 64.7, well above their 2012 score of 51.6. It gave Whitley High a percentile rank of 90, earning them the Distinguished/Progressing designation.
Because of that, the school was rewarded by the state as a High Performing School/High Progress School.
The KDE states a “High Performing School/High Progress School” has a score from the 90th to 94th percentile in the state, meets the student participation rate, and the graduation rate is above 60 for the past two years. Also, the school cannot be labeled as “Priority” or “Focus.”
In addition, the school has met its current year AMO, participation rate and graduation rate, and has an improvement score indicating the school is in the top 10 percent of improvement.
“Obviously, everyone was disappointed in last year’s high school score. We knew our students were capable of so much more than the scores indicated, and we also knew that we had an outstanding high school faculty. The Unbridled Learning model represents substantial changes to core content, assessment and accountability. Everyone knows it takes longer to turn a large boat than it does a small one, and I think that’s what we are seeing here. We are now realizing the effects of some large scale changes implemented at the high school in response to the mandates of Unbridled Learning,” said Deputy Superintendent Paula Trickett.
Whitley East Elementary, Boston Elementary, Whitley Central Intermediate and Whitley County Middle School saw gains from a year ago. For the second year in a row, the Distinguished classification was given to Whitley East, while Whitley Central Intermediate received a Proficient/Progressing rank. Classified as Needs Improvement/Progressing were both Boston Elementary and Whitley Middle.
For Oak Grove, Pleasant View and Whitley North Elementary schools, scores this year were down from 2012. They remain classified by the state as Needs Improvement.
A school or district “Needs Improvement” if their score is below the 70th percentile in the state.
Whitley Central Primary School, whose grade level is Preschool-2nd Grade, was not tested.
Trickett pointed out, “Our district instructional leadership and our principals and teachers are already analyzing the data and developing school plans to address our deficiencies and weaknesses. The ultimate goal is for each student who graduates to be ready for that next step, whether it is further education or the job market. Our job is to make sure that happens.”
Williamsburg Independent’s district score came up to 59.5, a slight increase from 59.2 in 2012. The district’s percentile rank was 86, up from 78 a year ago. And the district earned a Proficient classification for the second straight year.
Williamsburg High School had an overall score this year of 62.4, up from last year’s 55.5. They reached a percentile rank of 84, and were classified by the state as Proficient.
Williamsburg Middle scored 56.1 in 2013, down from 59.7 a year ago. Their percentile rank was 57 for this year, and were designated as Needs Improvement.
And Williamsburg Elementary showed a score this year of 61.9, down from 62.2 in 2012. The school’s percentile rank came in this year at 67, and the state gave them a Needs Improvement classification.
While the Knox County Schools district was classified as Needs Improvement again this year, their overall score district-wide went up in 2013 with a 50.0, compared to a 46.1 in 2012. The public school system’s percentile rank scored a 20, compared to a 7 a year ago.
As for the two high schools in the district, both Knox Central High and Lynn Camp High received a “Needs Improvement” for the second straight year.
Knox Central High was also named a Priority School two years in a row.
This year’s overall score at Knox Central High was 52.5, up from last year’s 46.8, and the school got a 39 percentile rank for 2013.
The state defines a “Priority School” as one that was identified as a Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) school.
Lynn Camp High’s overall score in 2013 was higher, with a 49.5 compared to last year’s 43.1. Their percentile rank was a 23, giving them the Needs Improvement rating.
Seven other schools in the Knox County district were designated as Needs Improving/Progressing.
Knox Middle, Central Elementary, Flat Lick Elementary, Girdler Elementary, G R Hampton, Jesse D. Lay and Lynn Camp Elementary all received the upgrade because of higher overall scores during the past year.
Lynn Camp Middle School’s score was up this year, but remained a Focus School with a Needs Improvement classification.
The KDE calls a “Focus School” one with a non-duplicated gap group score in the bottom 10 percent of the state, has an individual group of students scoring significantly low, or has a graduation rate less than 60 for the past two years.
Schools getting the Focus Group designation were based on data from the 2011-12 school year and were carried over this school year.
Scores at Dewitt Elementary School were down in 2013, keeping that school designated as Needs Improvement.
As a district, the Barbourville Independent Schools had an overall score this year of 54.1, compared to 50.8 in 2012. It earned them a percentile rank of 45 in 2013, versus a 23 a year ago, which classified them as a Needs Improvement district.
When Barbourville City School is broken down, Barbourville High School had a score of 59.7, up from last year’s 57.3 The high school’s percentile rank this year was at 75, upgrading them to Proficient.
The middle school came in with a score this year of 58.3, five points up from last year’s 50.3. It earned them a 68 percentile rank and a Needs Improvement/Progressing classification.
As for the elementary school, 44.4 was this year’s score, down a little from 44.9 last year. Their percentile rank came at 9, which keeps them designated as Needs Improvement.
In terms of scores, improving, as Laurel County’s overall score came in this year at 58.7. That’s an increase from the 55.8 they had in 2012. It gave them a 75 percentile rank, up dramatically from last year’s 54. Most of all, it put the district in the Proficient classification, compared to the Needs Improvement they had last year.
North Laurel High scored an overall score of 56.0, up from 49.3 in 2012. It earned them a percentile rank of 58, well above last year’s.
Meanwhile, South Laurel High’s overall score this year was up, too. The school got a 55.5, up from last year’s 52.6. South Laurel High’s percentile rank came to 57, much higher than in 2012.
While their numbers were up in 2013, both South Laurel High and North Laurel High remain designated at Needs Improvement, as well as being named Focus Schools for the second straight year.
In comparing the middle schools, North Laurel Middle was the victor as well. They saw their overall score go up from 2012, while South Laurel Middle saw theirs go down slightly from last year.
For the second year in a row, both middle schools in the Laurel County district remain designated at Needs Improvement, as well as named Focus Schools.
In the elementary schools, Bush Elementary has some competition in the way of Hunter Hills Elementary.
For the second consecutive year, Bush has been designated as Distinguished. This year, the state gave them a Distinguished/Progressing upgrade thanks to their overall score improving from last year. Bush was also rewarded as a School of Distinction.
Hunter Hills was also given a boost by the state. Thanks to a much higher overall score this year, they went from last year’s Proficient classification to Distinguished/Progressive.
For their work in 2013, Hunter Hills was also named a School of Distinction/High Progress School.
Three Laurel County schools — Sublimity Elementary, Wyan - Pine Grove and Johnson Elementary — got Proficient/Progressing designations due to improved overall scores.
Cold Hill Elementary’s overall score went down this year, but continued their Proficient classification.
Overall scores went up at Colony, Hazel Green, Keavy and London Elementary Schools this year. Because of that, the state designated the three schools at Needs Improvement/Progressing.
Camp Ground Elementary — named Proficient in 2012, was downgraded to Needs Improvement this year, due to a lower overall score.
The East Bernstadt Independent Schools district also made progress within a year on the KDE scores.
The district, which has classes from Kindergarten to 8th Grade, showed an overall score of 57.1, up dramatically from the 46.5 they had in 2012. East Bernstadt scored a 62 percentile rank. considerably higher than last year’s 10.
Because of the improvements, the district was classified as a Needs Improvement/Progressing district. In addition, they were also rewarded by the state as being what’s known as a High Progress District.
A “High Progress District or School” met its current year Annual Measurable Objective, participation rate and graduation rate. It also has a graduation rate of 60 for the prior two years, and has an improvement score indicating the school or district is in the top 10 percent of improvement.
Last year, the East Bernstadt district was classified as Needs Improvement, and recognized as a “Focus District.”
Broken down at East Bernstadt Elementary School, their middle school scored an overall 51.8, up from 44.8 a year ago. They earned a 39 percentile rank, classifying them as a Needs Improvement/Progressing school.
For the elementary school part, they had a score of 62.4 this year, improving from 48.0 in 2012. It gave the elementary grades a percentile rank of 89, earning them a Needs Improvement/Progressing classification.
As a result, they were also designated as a Focus School/High Progress School.
With 174 public school districts across the state, Kentucky’s second year under the Unbridled Learning model did show some overall improvement.
In accountability performance, the overall score statewide for grades K-12 was 57.3. That’s up just over two notches from last year’s 55.2.
Four Tri-County districts — Corbin Independent, Whitley County, Williamsburg Independent and Laurel County — were above the state average overall score.
As a group statewide, elementary schools scored a 57.6, up from 57.3 in 2012. Middle schools had a 54.9, up from last year’s 53.5. And high schools came in with a 59.5 overall score, a good jump from the 2012 total of 54.8.
The percentile rank for the state schools in 2013 came to 63. Since it was below the 70th percentile, Kentucky’s public schools overall were put in the “Needs Improvement” category.
Breaking that down across the state, 90 of Kentucky’s public school districts were designated as “Needs Improvement” this year. That’s down from 121 in 2012.
There were improvements, too. Statewide, 59 school districts were classified as “Proficient,” up from 35 a year ago, while 25 districts were named “Distinguished,” up from 18 in 2012.
“The statewide data clearly show we are making progress, though slower than we would like. We’ve raised expectations and aligned them with what students need to be successful; we are moving in the right direction toward the goal of providing a world-class education for every Kentucky student and ensuring all children graduate college and career-ready,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said Friday from Frankfort.
The overall score is a calculated using a formula weighing each of five components — Achievement (student achievement on tests), Gap (how achievement varies among different groups of students), Growth (how much student performance improves from one year to the next), College/Career Readiness (how many students hit the targets to achieve the required level of preparation), and Graduation Rate (how many students complete high school).
State ranking and percentile aren’t not only based on test scores, but also a variety of other factors.
“Elementary scores are based on growth, achievement and gap. Growth scores are based on students who achieve at a typical or high growth rate in their grade. Achievement is the calculation of the actual test scores, and gap is the difference between Kentucky’s goal of 100 percent proficiency for all students and the actual score from these groups — ethnicity, special education, poverty and limited English proficient that score proficient or higher,” McNeel pointed out in a news release Friday.
He added middle school scores are based on the same criteria, except college and career readiness scores are considered.
“College and career readiness takes into account students who perform well on the EXPLORE test, which is taken by all middle school students in the state. At the high school level, ACT, COMPASS, KEYNOTE, ASVAB (the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test), ACT Work Keys, KOSSA (the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment) and Industry Certificates are taken into consideration to score college and career readiness. The graduation rate is also added as a factor,” said McNeel.
This year marked the second year of the state using new standards and more rigorous testing, with the K-PREP test in five content areas — reading, science, mathematics, writing and social studies. For high school students, four end-of-course exams were included for Algebra II, Biology, English II and Social Studies.
K-PREP replaced the NCLB testing last year, after the state was granted flexibility under the NCLB Act by the federal Department of Education.
In 2011, Kentucky became the first of 46 states to adopt what’s called the Common Core State Standards. It became the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, and were incorporated into state classrooms last school year.
More information on the Kentucky School Report Card, including more detailed figures on the individual districts and schools, can be found at the KDE’s website at www.education.ky.gov.