The Richmond County Board of Education reconvened Tuesday night after a summer break, and talk turned to test scores. Steve Lear, director of testing and accountability for RCS, presented to the board testing accountability results for the ACT, AMOs and ABCs for the 2011-12 school year.
“The ACT is used to measure college and career readiness,” said Lear. “This was administered for the first time in March 2012 to all 11th graders. It’s a benchmark indicator of whether students are likely to succeed in college-level coursework.”
A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject area to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course.
The benchmark ACT score for college English composition is 18. District scores reflected that 27 percent of high school juniors demonstrated they had the skills to be successful in college English. State scores were at 40 percent.
The benchmark ACT score for college algebra is 22; district scores were at 17 percent, and state scores were at 30 percent. The benchmark ACT score for college social science (reading) is 21; district scores were at 23 percent, while state scores were at 34 percent. The benchmark ACT score for college biology (science) is 24; district scores were at 8, while state scores were at 16.
Five percent of students tested in the district met the benchmark scores in all four ACT testing areas, while 13 percent of students in the state met all four.
“We don’t yet know how this might be used as an accountability standard next year,” said Lear. “But these scores can be really helpful in helping us identify students who are just under the benchmark and working to get them where they need to be. These are concrete skills we can teach.”
AMO, or Annual Measurable Objectives, were formerly referred to as AYP or Annual Yearly Progress. AYP is no longer used, and AMO is a series of performance targets that states, school districts and subgroups within schools must achieve each year to meet federal accountability standards.
Under AMOs, proficiency targets are set for each student subgroup. Before AMOs were allowed, there was only one proficiency target for all student subgroups.
Subgroups include: All students; Native American; Asian; black, Hispanic; two or more races; white; economically disadvantaged; limited English proficient; and students with disabilities.
“These new measures mean that performance measurements change, depending on the subgroup,” said Lear.
Recently released AMO results indicated that: five of 17 schools in the district made all AMO targets (compared with four of 17 that made AYP standards in 2011); schools made 198 of 252 total AMO targets (compared with 191 of 246 making total AYP in 2011); the district made 51 of 64 targets (compared with 45 of 58 AYP targets in 2011).
“It can be difficult to make some comparisons between last year’s and this year’s results because some targets increased and some decreased — depending on the subgroup,” said Lear.
The ABC results reflect individual student growth, and are a state measure of school and school system accountability. This was the last year this model will be used.
In 2012, sixteen schools made expected academic growth, and eight schools made high growth. L. J. Bell Elementary and Ninth Grade Academy were listed as schools of distinction, and Richmond Early College High School was named as an Honor School of Excellence, with at least 90 percent of students at grade level.
“ABC results indicated that we had no low performing schools, all were at high or expected growth with regards to percentages of students performing at or above grade level,” said Lear.
In other action Tuesday:
• The board met in closed session until nearly 11 p.m. When the board returned to open session, it was announced that the new principal of Richmond Senior High School will be Keith McKenzie. He replaces Cory Satterfield. McKenzie is currently the principal of East Rockingham Elementary. Debbie Wrenn, who recently retired from another position in the district, will take over the East Rockingham principal role.
• MBAJ Architecture updated the board on a multi-purpose building planned for construction at L. J. Bell Elementary School. The approximate 10,300 square-foot building is currently budgeted at about $1,074,000. The architecture firm submitted proposed building plans. State and final approvals are expected to happen in October 2012, and bidding is expected to take place in November. Construction is scheduled to occur from December 2012 until May 2013. The firm suggested that a pre-qualification package be created prior to the bidding process, in order to seek out only applicants who: have had successful experience with K-12 projects of similar size and scope; a successful work history with the county and/or schools; can insure and bond work; and have the ability to meet state standards, among other things. The architecture group suggested that only pre-qualified contractors meeting a list of requirements should be allowed to bid on the project. “I don’t want to see restrictions go so overboard that they exclude qualified local contractors,” said board member Tom McInnis. The architectural firm agreed to remain sensitive to that issue moving forward.
• Robert Beck, associate superintendent, brought to the board the bids to replace the flat roof at the front of the lower building at West Rockingham Elementary and the roof on the small classroom wing at Mineral Springs Elementary. The bids came in at approximately $42,000 over budget, but some projects will be moved to next school year so as not to effect the overall budget. “Out of 23 companies that we asked to bid, only three submitted a bid,” said Beck. “One of them did a great job at L. J. Bell this spring, and submitted the combined lowest bid for both projects.” The board agreed to award the $161,652 bid to Lafave Construction Company, of Landis, N.C. McInnis asked why only three companies submitted a bid. Beck responded that some of the companies replied that they were too busy, while others no longer do metal roofing.
• Pam Satterfield, finance officer, asked the board for approval to start seeking bids for an account with a different bank that could earn more interest and charge lower fees. The board approved her suggestion, and she said she would begin the process.
• It was reported that 33 new teachers have been hired, effective Aug. 20. There were five teacher transfers to different schools or positions in the district. There were 13 teacher resignations, effective in June and July.
• Aug. 27 will be the first day of school.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org