Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Schools

September 30, 2011

Are districts closing the gap?

(Continued)

GLASGOW — METCALFE COUNTY

The Metcalfe district is closing the gap in all seven measured subpopulations and had no widening gaps overall. Four out of five schools had positive results in closing versus widening gaps in subpopulations.

Edmonton Elementary showed closing gaps in five groups and only one gap widening.

Both the high school and middle school also had five closing gaps and one widening gap.

Summer Shade Elementary had five groups with closing gaps and no widening gaps.

North Metcalfe Elementary was the only school showing widening gaps in all five subpopulations.

Regarding the gains made by schools in her district, Superintendent Patricia Hurt credits more educator training and involvement with student performance.

“All schools are doing more and more reading and math interventions, based on MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) data. Reading and math content is incorporated across all content areas. All teachers and administrators have received training in new math and reading standards,” she said.

A smaller, more variable group of students at North Metcalfe may have affected results there, according to Hurt.

“First of all, I will say that at NME we have a small student population and in this environment, one student can make a big difference (positive or negative) in test results. They also have a diverse population in grades 3-5 and the more diverse a population is the more diverse are the individual student needs,” she said.

MONROE COUNTY

The Monroe district closed the gap in eight out of nine populations overall with only the African American sub-population showing a widening gap.

Both the high school and middle school had good results. Monroe County High School closed the gap in six groups and had no widening gaps. Monroe County Middle School showed seven closing gaps and one widening gap.

All three elementaries showed less successful Gap to Goal results this year. At Gamaliel, all five subpopulations showed widening gaps. Joe Harrison Carter had three widening gaps, three with no change, and no closing gaps. Tompkinsville had one closing gap, four widening gaps and two with no change.

But Superintendent Lewis Carter had concerns about how the data was being presented.

“Monroe County is continually looking at ways to individualize student education - and have worked diligently to close gaps. I feel that you should examine the actual numbers included in this report instead of just looking at the gap comparison to get a true picture of what is being done here,” he said.

Even though this year’s report showed widening gaps in subpopulation performance, the individual schools still achieved percentages of proficient + distinguished students at higher levels than most other schools in the state, according to Carter.

“For the past five years the combined elementary school totals have been in the top five in the state, ranking as number four this year,” he said.

The size and make-up of the subpopulations should also be considered as a factor in data analysis.  

“As the scores rise, it becomes more and more difficult to close gaps that are tight with the numbers. Several of these subpopulations are based on groups of less than 15 children - and many of these fall into more than one subpopulation - meaning one child that did not perform as well as expected could possibly drop the scores in ethnicity, gender, disability and free/reduced,” he said.

Since different students are tested each year at each grade level, the comparisons between them will often show students at different performance levels.

“Yes, you will see score fluctuation from year to year as this measurement system measures different groups of children against others. The ‘gap’ score is a combined reading and math measurement - which measures last year’s class against this year’s class - and as educators, we know that groups of students are unique and individual,” Carter said.

Advances at MCMS and MCHS in closing gaps in performance for subpopulations was a welcome result.

“We are extremely pleased to see the high school and middle school making progress towards closing the gaps for all subpopulations and the general student body. We feel that with the continued intervention programming to put a ‘safety net’ into place for all students will feed these improvements,” Carter said.

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