Last updated: November 07. 2013 10:55PM - 785 Views
By - dbroyles@civitasmedia.com

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The Mount Airy Board of Education work session meeting on Tuesday focused on Thursday’s scheduled release of 2013 spring End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) test results from the State Department of Education to school systems statewide.

Educators from both county and city systems have stressed new proficiency standards are geared to show how ready students are for college and careers and if they are on track for this by graduation. In the past, proficiency standards addressed what was needed to succeed at the next grade level.

Board members were given a graph showing the percentage of students found proficient covering a period of ten years beginning in 2003. All graphs indicated the state had drops in proficiency levels when new standards have been, set which Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little said had occurred at least twice before in the past two decades.

“Every time we change the standards we change the results,” said Little, who noted that previous changes have been either standards in one area and curriculum or only assessments. He said the most recent changes have been in the entire curriculum and standards and assessments.

Little told the board projections for state proficiency rates appeared to “drop right off the table” and answered board concerns about the steep drop by saying it was affected by how much was changed.

“The first thing to know is anytime we’ve made changes on the assessments or curriculum this is what we see happening,” Little said. “Teachers are having to adjust as opposed to what we saw in 2008 for instance, when there was one area changed. The thing is we is this is a ramping up of the standard to reflect college and career readiness.”

He emphasized that this is a transition year and the scores will not affect students’ grades or current placement. Little said the 2012-13 scores are a baseline for the new assessments and a new accountability model for the state and that students continued to grow academically even though the tougher standards will show fewer students meeting that goal. He said the situation is simply students are expected to reach higher levels of learning than before.

“After we see these dips we begin to see an increase over the next two years and movement is back up (in proficiency),” said Little. “The trend is never in a straight line. There is increased proficiency and improvement. Given time, teachers parents and students adjusted to the new standards or curriculum or testing and student proficiency climbed.”

Little told the board a letter would be sent out explaining the situation to parents so they could see the result of the changes as positive.

“Our teachers will do as they always do and make the adjustments so our kids will be successful,” Little said. “We will focus on creating a dynamic learning environment and the test scores will take care of themselves. Our schools have anticipated these changes and each school has already made plans of action. We are going to be pro-active and the plans are in place to reflect these new requirements.”

The next regular meeting of the Board of Education is set for Nov. 19 at Mount Airy High School at 6:30 p.m.

Reach David Broyles at dbroyles@civitasmedia.com or 336-719-1952.

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