Fayette County Public Schools recorded both highs and lows on Kentucky's new statewide student test, with two schools ranked in the state's top 10 and others trailing well down the list.
The district as a whole slipped into the "needs improvement" category in the results released at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
The Fayette district was only one-tenth of a point short of making "proficient" level in the complex new scoring system. The system's design automatically ensured that 69 percent of Kentucky schools and districts would end up in the "needs improvement" classification.
Among individual Lexington schools, Veterans Park Elementary ranked fifth statewide among elementary schools. The School for the Creative and Performing Arts was the second-ranked middle school in Kentucky.
Nine Fayette schools achieved "proficient" status. Seven others reached "distinguished" level and also were named "highest performing schools." Six Fayette schools designated as distinguished were also honored as "schools of distinction," the highest accolade a school can receive in the new scoring system.
On the down side, 20 Fayette schools were designated as "focus schools" as a result of low "gap" scores on the test indicating that some of their student subgroups — minority, low-income or special needs children — underperformed compared to peers statewide.
"Overall, our district did very well. ... We feel very good about where our schools are as they move forward," Superintendent Tom Shelton said. "But having 20 schools in the focus school category clearly indicates that we still have issues in the achievement gap areas. Those are areas in particular that we want to highlight and work on."
Fayette County ranked 54th out of Kentucky's 174 public school districts on the new K-PREP test, which students took for the first time last spring...
This from the Courier-Journal:
Kentucky's new testing system shows
Most JCPS schools 'need improvement'
Kentucky’s new statewide tests delivered a sobering assessment of academic achievement among Jefferson County’s public schools — with 80 percent categorized as “needs improvement.”Results from the more demanding accountability system, released today, found that only 28 of the district’s 136 tested schools were proficient or distinguished, based on a combination of their students’ academic scores, growth, achievement gaps, college readiness and graduation rates.
Students’ individual test results will be released in about a month.
As district officials had predicted, the more rigorous definitions of academic proficiency resulted in lower proficiency rates in reading and math at most schools — including some that had scored well under the state’s old testing system.
“We have a mountain to climb,” Superintendent Donna Hargens acknowledged. “But nobody is shying away from the challenge, and we have a plan to get there. You cannot lower expectations.” ...
While some principals cringed at the results and officials braced for criticism, district leaders said they expected a grimmer picture and had worked to prepare parents and the community by sending mailers and creating a website explaining the new system...