CALHOUN SCHOOLS FAIL NCLB STANDARDS - Calhoun Middle-High School Lacks Progress Five Of Six Years

(09/03/2011)

By Bob Weaver

Calhoun Middle-High School has failed to meet No Child Left Behind standards for 2010-11, according Superintendent Roger Propst.

The school has failed to meet Average Yearly Progress (AYP) in five of the last six years. Average Yearly Progress (AYP) is based on outcomes connected to Westest II.

This year, Arnoldsburg Elementary also failed to meet the AYP standards, with Pleasant Hill Elementary being the only county school meeting the criteria.

In West Virginia, 48% of 692 schools did not meet AYP standards in math and reading, but despite that bad news, the State Department of Education says reading and language scores actually showed some improvement in 77% of the schools.

Math scores showed slight improvement at 55% of the state's schools.

The state department says the most recent version of the Westest is more difficult, with students needing to score higher to be considered proficient under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Superintendent Propst said, "Even though Calhoun Middle-High School did not meet AYP, student scores in math improved with an additional 4% of students meeting proficiency, and in Reading by an additional 7% of students meeting proficiency."

Propst said at Arnoldsburg Elementary, students improved in math by 6% over the previous year. Although not a component of AYP, 3rd grade students showed 45% proficiency in science, exceeding the state average of 41%.

He said Arnoldsburg school's goal is to improve and show growth this school year in order to return to making AYP status, as had been the case for the previous five consecutive years.

Propst said educators around the state says there is a problem that many students do not take the test seriously, thusly skewing the results badly at times.

"The test is given at the end of the school term when students are ready for the summer break, and since their grades are affected... many do not try," he said.

He says this is even more of a problem in a small county where smaller numbers of students take the test, and low scores lower the overall percentage of mastery, more than they would in a larger group of students.

Propst said, "Our school system, as is the case in most systems, has been affected by the retirement of the "baby boomer" generation of teachers reducing the average experience level of teachers significantly. We feel we have very good faculty, but it will take time for our younger faculty members to reach the level of experience they replaced."

West Virginia education officials are filing for several waivers to be exempt from the NCLB benchmarks next year.

The U.S. Department of Education has estimated that 82% of schools in America will not meet standards by 2014 if waivers are not granted.

The federal government recently required all states to modify the way graduation rates are calculated.

Propst said "The trend is upward in improvement and academic growth at the school."

"Administration and faculty continue to analyze the data and will adjust teaching methods and content delivery to address specific areas needing improvement," Propst concluded.

School Digger a nationwide school evaluation website, says Calhoun Middle-High School is among the 'Worst 10' performing schools in West Virginia under No Child Left Behind Standards.

Worst 10 West Virginia High Schools 9th, 10th, 11th Grades Combined

10 West Virginia Middle Schools 6th, 7th, 8th Grades Combined

Executive Pete Claar said School Digger uses data directly supplied by the West Virginia Department of Education and has carefully monitored the outcomes in West Virginia.

"The West Virginia Department of Education does not rank schools related to performance outcomes in a matrix from best to worst," says Lisa Cordeiro, "but does provide public data about specific schools."

Calhoun superintendent Propst said he had not heard of School Digger, and "I therefore have no opinion on it or its accuracy."

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