Johnson City schools exceed averages in standardized tests

Nathan Baker • Jul 28, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Johnson City Schools received high marks last year on systemwide standardized testing, outdoing state averages in all measurable marks.

The city district met or exceeded all of its goals for the 2012-13 school year based on proficiency testing and graduation rates, a task that ever-higher state mandates makes more difficult each year.

“Every year the state increases the target level, and we have to work more diligently to make sure our students are proficient in advance of the testing,” Johnson City Schools Director of Accountability and School Improvement Robbie Anderson said. “It’s a little daunting, but we’re very pleased to be able to make our targets again this year.”

Under the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, Johnson City third- through eighth-grade students’ math and language arts proficiency scores remained well above state averages.

Compared to the 2012 TCAP scores, the percentage of students ranked proficient or advanced in reading and language arts increased by 1.3 percent and math rankings rose by 1.7 percent.

In End of Course testing for high school students, English I and III scores grew by more than 3 percent, and algebra II scores increased 4.7 percent.

Last school year, Science Hill High School’s graduation rate of 91.8 percent exceeded the state’s graduation goal of 90 percent.

Anderson said the successes in state testing could be traced to the district’s principals and teachers and the reform plans implemented across the school system in recent years.

“As we move toward Common Core State Standards, we’ve put in place benchmarking, after school programming and a number of other initiatives to support achievement,” she said.

Even with the outstanding report card, Johnson City Schools still recognizes areas where improvement can be made, Anderson said.

“As excited as we are, we know there are still things we need to work on,” she said. “We plan to continue to look at those areas that need increased attention, for example, dealing with the achievement gap that some groups of our students experience. We will be working to try to develop specific response plans to better aid those students in the coming year.”

The Tennessee Department of Education revealed each district’s data and allowed them to release their own scores this week. The state will make all of the districts’ scores public Monday.

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