Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The first results

Scores indicate just how much state’s schools need to improve
It surely comes as no surprise to area residents that Russell and Ashland are the top two school districts in northeastern Kentucky based on the results of the new statewide tests.

Among the nine area school districts, only the Russell Independent, the Ashland Independent, Carter County and Greenup County schools systems were above the state averag for college and career readiness.

Even the best schools in the state exhibited much room for improvement on how well they are preparing graduates for success after high school. For example, Russell’s rank of 92 signifies its scores are higher than all but eight percent of Kentucky school districts. Schools whose rank is above 70 percent are considered proficient, and Ashland was the only other area district to achieve that level with 77.

While Russell can boast of being one of the best public school districts in Kentucky based on its test scores, the same scores also show that 35 percent — or more than one out of every three students — are still graduating from Russell High School unprepared for college work or for entry into the workforce. While that’s much better than the statewide average of 47.2 percent, it still is unacceptably high.

While a majority of area schools showed graduation rates higher than the state average, one wonders just how important valuable a high school diploma is if graduates still can’t do what is expected of them in college or in a job...

There is no question that Russell and Ashland are both excellent school systems, but the real message from the first round of testing is that even the best schools have much room for improvement.

The goal should not be to compare schools with each other, but with every school showing continual improvement based on its own test results. For example, the class of 2013 at Elliott County High School may not be able to compete with the graduating class at Russell High, but it should be better than the class of 2012 at Elliott County. In fact, getting better and better should be the goal of every school from the worst to the best.

We dream of the day when the vast majority of graduates of all area high schools are ready for success in college or in the workplace. We’re still far from achieving that, but that is what we should expect off all high school graduates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At what point are students going to be made accountable in this system? All I read about is how schools are suppose to be twisting and contorting to serve students but what are we getting from students for our effort and investments as educators and as citizens who invest in this system?

I sometimes fear that our one dimentional focus on school effectiveness based upon limited academic indicators is not at all preparing students for the day they enter the work force.

It is a competative world and employers aren't going to adapt and modify their company objectives to fit employee abilities and expectations. How are we tempering students to serve others and fullfill tasks which are not geared toward their individual level of industriousness or intelect?

Sorry, I know it is an old arguement, but I grow tired of folks looking for the magic bullet to educating young folks when many of those kids aren't even aiming in the right direction.