Schools get graded on test performance
Last month, parents of Morgan County students received report cards grading their child's school against the federal No Child Left Behind standards for public education.
County school testing director Terry Riley presented the report cards to the Morgan County school board at their October 7 meeting and explained how the cards reflect on schools.
Each school is rated by the performance of students on WESTEST, the state's education standard test. This newest report card weighs test scores from the 2006-2007 school year.
Riley said Morgan County schools overall performed well on the tests two years ago. More than 77% of local students achieved mastery level in reading and nearly 75% had mastery in math during that year. Statewide, that average was 80% and 76%.
The No Child Left Behind card also tracks whether each school has made Adequate Yearly Progress toward testing goals.
For the second year in a row, Warm Springs Intermediate School failed to meet that progress standard, Riley told board members.
The intermediate school missed the mark in the category of reading and math proficiency for students with disabilities. Intermediate school students exceeded state mastery averages in math.
Warm Springs Middle School also failed to meet adequate yearly progress in
math and reading for students with disabilities. The school also missed that benchmark in 2003 and 2004, according to the report. Warm Springs Middle students exceeding the state average by a point in reading.
All other county schools met federal progress standards, or were exempted from specific test comparisons because the sampling group was too small to measure.
Parents looking at the school report card can also track the performance of a particu-lar grade in reading and math. Test scores are also broken down by gender, ethnic group, income group and special education. Scores are given in each category for the school, the entire county system and the state as a whole.
Riley said the standardized tests are continuing to get harder and the standards for schools are rising each year. He said there is a constant need for teacher training to keep up with changing benchmarks.
Riley said the recent addition of a social worker and reading coach to school-wide staff will go a long way toward improving test scores.
Countywide school stats
Other general information was listed on the state-generated report card. During the 2006-2007 school year, Morgan County schools served 2,682 students.
The percentage of students who met low-income standards was 37.9% as compared to a state average of 49.5%.
Of the total student body, 97.7% were classified as White in Morgan County, while the state average was 93.3% White.
The county had a 97.4% attendance rate, which was nearly even with the state average.
Morgan County had an 87.2% graduation rate, compared to 84.7% in all of West Virginia. Morgan County's dropout rate of 2.3% was slightly below the state average of 2.7%.
Across all eight county schools, the average class had 20 students in it, which matched the state average as well.
Teacher data is also included on the annual report cards.
In Morgan County, 75% of classes are taught by highly qualified teachers, compared to a state percentage of 91%.
During the 2006-2007 school year, 57% of Morgan County teachers had less than a Master's degree. Graduate degrees are held by 42.5% of local teachers, while statewide 56% of teachers have earned that level of education.
A quarter of Morgan County high school students took the SAT prior to graduation, while 33% took some form of college entrance test by their senior year. Both of those percentages exceeded the state average.