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School system prepares for state's new accountabilty measure

Friday, July 19, 2013 8:52 PM
Last updated Saturday, July 20, 2013 7:30 AM
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The implementation of Georgia’s new school accountability measure will bring with it a spike in the difficulty of standardized tests over the next few years, and Richmond County is working to get prepared.

The Richmond County School System has made gradual improvements on the high school End of Course Tests and Criterion Referenced Competency Tests for elementary and middle grades, but still lags behind the state average in passing rates.

To help keep the district from slipping further behind when the rigor of testing and curriculum increases, Superintendent Frank Roberson’s cabinet has developed a plan to better monitor student achievement data and work with principals on a consistent leadership protocol for their schools. It includes making sure data analysis is conducted at monthly meetings between principals and Roberson’s cabinet and keeping track of where Richmond County stands among a peer group of 11 other districts.

“We wanted to set some goals and create a sense of direction,” said Carol Rountree, assistant superintendent of student services. “Keeping a focus, a common focus, it’s not always easy so having a plan in front of us at all times means we do have a common goal as a system and we’re able to move in the same direction simultaneously.”

The cabinet created a peer group of 11 districts that are comparable to Richmond County in size, socioeconomic status or are a fellow Race to the Top district. Currently Richmond County scores at the bottom in almost all CRCT subjects for fifth and eighth grades for average scores and percent passing.

Rountree said the cabinet will analyze how Augusta compares to these areas annually as standardized test scores are released.

“This is going to be our yardstick for some years to come,” Rountree told board of education members Thursday. “We’re going to keep them in our sights and use them as somewhat of a barometer for how we’re moving forward.”

The district will also publish an analysis twice a year of where the system is performing in regard to 15- and 30-day assessments, attendance, discipline and other factors that indicate growth.

And although Rountree said monthly meetings with principals are nothing new, the agendas for those meetings are constantly changing. With this new initiative, the cabinet will require a review of student data to be on every agenda as well as the discussion of the leadership protocol.

When Georgia switched to its new accountability system this year, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, the move came with a requirement to increase the expectations for students, which means more rigorous assessments.

Melissa Fincher, the state associate superintendent for assessment and accountability, said the change in expectations is partially a result of a demand from industry and businesses across the country that students are not adequately prepared for life after high school.

“Assessments are being redesigned to really send clear and consistent messages on where kids are on the path to being college- and career-ready,” Fincher said.

Content will be more rigorous but the makeup of the exams will change as well. In addition to multiple choice questions, students will be expected to show their work on certain questions and explain the rationale behind their answers, Fincher said.

The state debuted these higher expectations last year with a new algebra test, which only 37 percent of students statewide passed. The revised tests will be distributed in all subjects in 2014-15, and Fincher said she expects an adjustment period for students, teachers and districts as a whole.

“We are preparing items as a resource for districts to use instructionally in the classrooms now that they can work on getting students ready,” she said.

Given the challenges ahead, Richmond County Board of Education member Eloise Curtis said she is glad to see Roberson’s cabinet develop a plan to better monitor student data – which can warn teachers and administrators when any student falls behind in a particular area.

“It’s a good thing because it’s too late when you find out later that they’re not on track,” Curtis said. “Now we will be able to better inform parents and teachers on what’s going on with their students.”

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corgimom
36830
Points
corgimom 07/19/13 - 09:16 pm
6
2
And this is why you have so

And this is why you have so many administrators- here's a new "latest and greatest" plan. And you know what? The data doesn't tell the teacher a blessed thing.

When a child is struggling, it's obvious. The kids in the classroom can see it, the teacher can see it, it's like a neon sign.

I'm telling you, the tests are nonsense and test nothing. Because you are testing children. We had kids that did great on one test and terrible on the next one- because they were sick, tired, hungry, bored, needed the bathroom, wanted to go play- you name it. We had kids test as needed remediation when they were the top kids in the class.

We just ignored the data. It is meaningless.

corgimom
36830
Points
corgimom 07/19/13 - 09:18 pm
6
0
"Richmond County scores at

"Richmond County scores at the bottom in almost all CRCT subjects for fifth and eighth grades for average scores and percent passing. "

Taxpaying citizens, how much longer do you want to throw good tax money on programs that AREN"T WORKING???

Little Lamb
48019
Points
Little Lamb 07/19/13 - 09:35 pm
4
0
Dumbing Down

From the story:

The state debuted these higher expectations last year with a new algebra test, which only 37 percent of students statewide passed. The revised tests will be distributed in all subjects in 2014-15.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Just keep monkeying with the tests until you get the results you want.

Little Lamb
48019
Points
Little Lamb 07/19/13 - 09:37 pm
5
0
Trend

Corgimom is absolutely correct. When you change the standards often. When you change the tests often. When you shuffle the principals, teachers, students around often. You cannot establish a trend to point out your strengths and weaknesses. You are always chasing your tail.

teachkids
13
Points
teachkids 07/19/13 - 10:20 pm
4
0
Meetings and data analysis

All the meetings and data analysis in the world will do little, if anything, to advance student performance in our schools. What WILL likely happen, is more pressure will come to bear on principals and teachers as we continue to see deficient scores. All this at a time when we are facing more furloughs, less pay, no funding for supplies, and a myriad of other problems. Richmond County needs a comprehensive discipline system and rigorous enforcement of the policies in place. Especially the attendance policy. Real change does not take place by having monthly meetings.

Riverman1
90781
Points
Riverman1 07/20/13 - 02:18 am
8
0
The Water is Wide

There are socioeconomic and psychological forces at work with kids from poor and broken families. A teacher can mean so much more to these kids than statistics on tests will ever be. She can be the loving and inspiring influence that gives the child a toehold in the real world where respectability and work succeed.

The Richmond County School System with its high percentage of students from families in poverty needs such influential teachers. Don’t bother these teachers with the pettiness that educrats can bring. Read Pat Conroy’s book, The Water is Wide, to see what teachers working with poor black kids are up against.

seenitB4
93904
Points
seenitB4 07/20/13 - 06:27 am
5
0
USA

DUMBING DOWN--DUMBING DOWN

Take the gov out of the school system if you really want to change it.

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 07/20/13 - 06:35 am
0
0
Plantation Schools. Preparing youth for the future of CHANGE?
Unpublished

Plantation Schools. Preparing youth for the future of CHANGE?

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 07/20/13 - 06:36 am
0
0
Not to worry. The FREE phones and computers are in the mail.
Unpublished

Not to worry. The FREE phones and computers are in the mail.

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 07/20/13 - 06:37 am
0
0
The collective wisdom of the world at your IT thumbs. Say yes.
Unpublished

The collective wisdom of the world at your IT thumbs. Say yes.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 07/20/13 - 07:12 am
4
0
The system is now pitting

The system is now pitting teacher against teacher with a new "ranking" system based on test scores!!! It is the most ridiculous and unfair system I have ever seen. Teachers will now feel they must compete against others and add even more pressure to job that is stressful enough.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 07/20/13 - 07:30 am
4
2
"Richmond County needs a
Unpublished

"Richmond County needs a comprehensive discipline system and rigorous enforcement of the policies in place. Especially the attendance policy."
teachkids, this is what the Great Society, the liberals, democrats and many of the black leaders have created. Over 70% of black babies are born to unwed mothers. Black men are not taking care of their kids they letting the gov't do it.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 07/20/13 - 07:31 am
4
0
"Read Pat Conroy’s book, The
Unpublished

"Read Pat Conroy’s book, The Water is Wide, to see what teachers working with poor black kids are up against."
very good book

allhans
24522
Points
allhans 07/20/13 - 09:14 am
1
0
Tests are bad? All those

Tests are bad? All those years I went through school taking tests were wasted? I think not. Back then the day before a test wasto be given was the only time some students hit the books.
I WANT my kids to be tested. We have seen how unfair some teachers can be.

Little Lamb
48019
Points
Little Lamb 07/20/13 - 09:27 am
2
0
Testing

I don't think Scoobynews was saying that testing (or tests) is bad, Allhans. I think Scooby was saying it is bad to rank teachers based on the scores of students’ test taking. For example, the biology teacher at Davidson high school will get a high ranking and the biology teacher at Laney high school will get a low ranking.

countyman
21303
Points
countyman 07/20/13 - 11:22 am
2
2
Chascushman. The majority of

Chascushman. The majority of welfare is going towards single white women.

allhans
24522
Points
allhans 07/20/13 - 11:55 am
1
0
countyman. You might be

countyman. You might be right and that is a shame...there are so many more white mothers in the US... anyhow...something must be done.

teachkids
13
Points
teachkids 07/20/13 - 12:14 pm
1
0
countyman

I believe your statement is misleading. Approximately 5% of the total white population is on welfare.

Little Lamb
48019
Points
Little Lamb 07/20/13 - 12:09 pm
3
0
Deflection Again

Countyman once again defects the discussion. We've become accustomed to his technique. However, when he aims it at one single poster, I have to call him out. Nowhere in any of Chascushman's posts did he make a comment about welfare payments. Then you call out his name and zero in on welfare and white women. That's not good debating etiquette.

Darby
28401
Points
Darby 07/20/13 - 02:52 pm
2
0
"Read Pat Conroy’s book, The Water is Wide,

to see what teachers working with poor black kids are up against."

.
Well written and inspiring, but although the core of the text was directed at black children, it applies equally to schools across this nation.

We once had a system of education that was the envy of so many nations.

Now that's all lost in the political maneuvering that we can't seem to move beyond.

Our schools are no longer about educating our children. They are about controlling the population and our influencing our political direction.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 07/20/13 - 04:43 pm
1
0
The rankings are based on

The rankings are based on standardized tests not unit test that are given throughout the year to check for understanding. As LL stated it is a very unfair system even though the state doesn't sell it to the boards as such.

redapples
672
Points
redapples 07/20/13 - 06:51 pm
2
0
This just makes me crazy! I

This just makes me crazy! I came to teaching from another career and after 9 years, I really think I need to go back to where I came from because it is an endless cycle of crazy - not the kids or teaching, but everything else! We never stick to any one set of standards or best teaching practices long enough to really see any results. We blow with the wind and it is disgusting to see the amount of money that is WASTED each year! Absolutely disgusting!

Darby
28401
Points
Darby 07/20/13 - 08:09 pm
1
1
"We never stick to any one set of standards

or best teaching practices long enough to really see any results."

.
Part of the reason for that may just lie in the propensity of too many teachers and administrators to game the system.

The find ways to "teach the test" rather than teaching the material.

class1
299
Points
class1 07/21/13 - 12:31 am
0
0
Test scores

Hopefully, the state won't manipulated the test data making the state look better than it actually was this year. This year the state lower the standards in order to raise the test scores.

corgimom
36830
Points
corgimom 07/21/13 - 04:40 pm
0
0
"Read Pat Conroy’s book, The

"Read Pat Conroy’s book, The Water is Wide, to see what teachers working with poor black kids are up against."

Before all of you join the "poor black student" bandwagon, let me share with you my experiences.

Until y'all teach black kids, quit stereotyping all of them, and quit judging all of them by that book and movie. It is a memoir, and Pat Conroy is a writer of NOVELS. It is a FICTIONALIZED account. FICTION, y'all.

In our kindergarten, usually black kids were among the top kids and the best behaved. They had the best manners. They showed the most respect for adults. They had home training.

We had a couple of disturbed kids who were black, but we had some white kids that were spoiled rotten. The white kids were the most defiant and the ones that would stare us down and tell us "no". Their manners were the worst. We got so that we would rather have minority kids than white ones, most of the white kids were holy terrors.

The black kids knew better than that, they were taught better. They knew they'd get whomped up the side of their head if we told the parents that they were telling us no.

So please, do not judge all black school kids by that maudlin book.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 07/24/13 - 03:22 pm
0
0
countryman the buld of the
Unpublished

countryman the buld of the welfare recipeints may be white but black make up 13% of the population and recieve over 25% of welfare benefits and 73% of all black children born are boran to single women..so that means a greater percentage of black "lib of de gub-i-ment" than whites..and o by the way country....have you driven thru the local "gub-i-ment prah-jeck" in richmond county lately???? well i haven't seen a whole lot of whites at all.....

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