ALSDE school report card, more accurate performance profile than “School-Failing” list
Published Monday 21 November 2022 at 17:39
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Three area schools — Greenville High School and Central Elementary School in Butler County and Central High School in Lowndes County — were among the 79 schools in Alabama ranked as the lowest performers, at 6% List of the Alabama Accountability Act of 2015 (AAA). for the 2021-2022 school year.
School system officials say the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) Testimony released Friday provides a more accurate assessment of public school performance.
Butler County received a C with an overall score of 76 on the ALSDE report card for the 2021-2022 school year. Lowndes County schools were also rated C, earning a score of 74.
“The Alabama Accountability Act is a statutory act that has nothing to do with the state Department of Education,” said Joseph Eiland, superintendent of Butler County Public Schools. “[Ranking on the list] based on just one indicator, a student’s score on the ACT.”
Lowndes County Public Schools Superintendent Jason Burroughs said the report card takes into account more than just academic ability. It also looks at academic growth, an indicator that shows what a teacher has accomplished over the year.
Butler County’s Greenville High School acquired a D on the ALSDE certificatewith a score of 60. Despite the low score, the high school experienced 76.1% academic growth and a 75.16% graduation rate.
In Lowndes County, Central Elementary School in Hayneville scored a D, an overall grade of 60, but demonstrated academic growth of 78.4%. Central High School also received one D, but a higher score of 69100% growth and 77.78% completion rate.
“Look at the testimony and the tremendous growth that is taking place in our district and how the improvement is occurring,” Eiland said. “This is an indicator that we are on the right track and doing everything right.”
The annual bottom-performing list is a requirement of the AAA, which requires the measurement of students’ performance on English language arts and math tests to define “failing schools” as those in the bottom 6% of public schools belong in Alabama.
According to Burroughs, the list measures student performance on standardized tests. Third, fourth, and fifth graders take the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP) and High School Juniors Test with the ACT College Admissions Test.
Juniors must score at least 19 in math and English and language skills, Burroughs added, and Eiland said many factors can affect scores.
“When students have a preconceived notion that they won’t go to college, they believe they don’t have to do well on that test. They don’t care,” Eiland said.
The ACT is a timed test, Eiland noted. Students who finish quickly and don’t take the test seriously do not do well.
“As educators, administrators and teachers, we need to be much better at communicating the importance of doing well. The test is part of their permanent record and follows them.”
Greenville High School also experienced high dropout rates during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Pupils who missed out on school were obviously behind, Eiland noted, but those numbers are improving.
“I am absolutely convinced that the [failing school] Designation will reverse,” said Eiland. “The ALSDE testimonial is what we look at, what makes a difference. We are excited about our growth and our achievements.”
Schools in Lowndes County also faced challenges. Burroughs attributes the underperforming elementary school to last year’s teacher shortage.
At Central Elementary, all classes are now fully staffed with certified teachers or teachers through approved pathways to certification. At Central High, specialists work with students and teachers to provide instruction and strategies for preparing students for the exam.
“We will work hard to improve so that schools can be taken off the list,” Burroughs said. “I am very confident that these schools will not be on that list next year.”