Chester County Schools recently received their 2018 State Report Cards, and the results reflect an overall positive snapshot of school performance.
CCS received an average of 21 on the ACT test, offered several post-secondary opportunities and industry certifications for students to gain skills to enter the workforce upon graduation, and even received reward school status at East Chester Elementary.
However, the reports were not all so easily deconstructed. Many students faced connectivity issues while attempting to take their tests online. This issue, which has been discussed at length following the initial problem, proved to be caused by a text to speech feature that wreaked havoc on completion of tests during the allotted times.
“The frustration of the connectivity effected students, faculty, et cetera to the point that they ‘just wanted to get it done,’” said Superintendent Troy Kilzer II.
He added that after three solid weeks of starting tests, getting kicked out and starting over frustrated students and test administrators alike to the point that they no longer cared as much about the results as finishing the test once and for all. Motivation waned during the final weeks of testing and the frustration showed in the scores from the high school.
While these scores are reflected in the Tennessee State Report Card, Kilzer was less concerned over the lower average than he normally would be if testing had run smoothly.
He stated that overall schools are making gains.
The Read to Be Ready program has already helped numerous students engage more completely in reading, and the goal is for 75 percent of third graders to read at grade-level by 2025. Schools are targeting third grade as a crucial time in student performance. Often those who are behind in third grade remain behind throughout their school years.
Literacy walk-throughs are also helping teachers chose proper text complexity and identify gaps in standards and student performance. Kilzer said that teachers are sometimes unaware of the current standards and rely on lessons that served them well in the past but no longer apply to the standards for their grade-level.
Targeting instruction with “Great Starts,” questions, thoughts or ideas for students to reflect on before lessons begin, and ending with exit questions help students integrate the concept they are learning and apply them in ways that contribute to greater learning.
According to the Tennessee Department of Education, the report cards reflect the following goals:
Academic achievement – whether students are performing on grade level or above based on state tests
Student academic growth – whether students are making progress from year to year, regardless of whether they are on grade level yet
Chronically out of school – students who miss at least 10 percent of school days, or about 18 days if enrolled the full year
Progress on English language proficiency – whether English learners are making progress in their understanding of the English language
Ready graduate - the percentage of students who graduate and earn at least a 21 on the ACT or 1060 on the SAT, demonstrating readiness for college and careers; this is for high schools only
Graduation rate – percentage of students graduating from high school (this is for high schools only)
Information provided by the Department of Education states: “The information and ratings on the report card are intended to be a catalyst for conversation, not a defining characteristic. Ultimately, a quality education is more than a score, and these ratings provide one perspective on how a school is performing.”
More information about individual school performance can be found at https://reportcard.tnk12.gov/.