Principals from Bell County schools attended the Bell County Board of Education meeting on Monday to address the K-PREP scores recently received. Each principal commented on the good and the bad from the test results, as well as addressing how they plan to improve as time goes on.
There are several differences between the new K-PREP test and the KCCT exam of the past. K-PREP is based on a 100 point scale and is a comparison exam — comparing schools and students.
The exam also compares schools in areas such as achievement, growth, gap and college and career. All K-Prep scores are counted the same.
Bell County High School Principal Richard Gambrel said his school was above state average in English. According to Gambrel, reading scores for the boys were also above the state average.
Free and reduced students scored 10 points above the state average in English, he noted.
One main area for concern in English was the amount of novice students, which is on the lower end of the performance scale for the K-PREP test.
In the math department, 41 percent of the students scored in the novice range. The school has implemented a new math program — Math Transformation — and have started incorporating the ALEKS program with targeted group, which Gambrel said he expects to boost math scores.
In social studies, Gambrel said the focus is on essay style writing instead of open response questions. He said the school teaches using primary sources.
Areas for concerns in the area include a high novice percentage and a low distinguished percentage. At Bell High, 51 percent of the students scored novice while four percent of the students scored distinguished, the highest possible performance level. In social studies, Gambrel plans to put more emphasis on constructed response.
In science, free and reduced students scored better than the state average.
Gambrel said the school will continue grouping students by ability in science classes, focusing on moving toward formulating effective constructed responses. There are also plans to re-align freshmen science standards.
Overall, Gambrel said the areas for improvement include the academic areas of math, reading, science and College and Career Readiness.
Thirty minute classes have been scheduled within the school day to provide students the opportunity for extra help in areas of math, reading and ACT prep, according to Gambrel. Programs being used during that time include ALEKS, Reading Revisited, Accelerated math and various websites including NMSI and Study Island.
The school has also partnered with Advance Kentucky to make the curriculum more rigorous. They are also using ACT Quality Core across the curriculum, which is aligned with college and career standards.
Bell Central principal Greg Wilson had several celebration points for his school. According to Wilson, at the elementary level (third through fifth grade) the school had an accountability score of 64.9. That placed the school in the 78th percentile, which is categorized as a proficient school.
At the elementary level, the school is ranked first in the district and first out of 27 schools in Bell, Knox and Harlan counties.
The school scored 100 — the maximum points possible — in science in the fourth grade and social studies in the fifth grade. The school also ranked first in the district and exceeded the state average in everything except language mechanics at the elementary level, according to Wilson.
The school was also above the district and state average in every elementary grade. They scored first in the district with the gap students and second in the district in the growth score at the elementary level.
In the middle grade level of sixth through eighth, Bell Central received an accountability score of 56.1, which place them in the 57th percentile and classified the school as a needs improvement school. Wilson stated the school was only 2.6 points from being classified as proficient.
The school ranked fourth in the district at this level and seventh out of 20 schools in Bell, Knox and Harlan counties, according to Wilson.
Wilson also said the middle grade level performed consistently in all four areas by ranking fourth in achievement, fourth in gap, fourth in growth and second in college and career readiness.
Though the school was fairly successful in the assessment, Wilson said there are still stated areas needing work. Language mechanics is one area. The school was below the state average at the elementary and middle level. Wilson plans to have daily language practice to assist the problem.
Wilson also wants to increase the percentage of distinguished students in math. Wilson said staff is going to identify students who should be distinguished and meet with them and set expectations and hold them accountable.
Wilson wants to continue working on growth by monitoring individual student growth on MAP and identify students not showing adequate growth, then develop a plan for those students.
The school also wants to improve at the middle grade level, where they lack 2.6 point to be proficient. Wilson stated the administration has spent a lot of energy at the primary level the last few years, and they need to balance the time and focus on the middle grades as well.
Frakes School Center principal Bill Gibson stated Frakes ranked first in the district with a combined overall score of 61.5. At the elementary level, the school received 100 percent proficient/distinguished in social studies.The school received 94 percent proficient/distinguished in science at the elementary level.
In the middle grade level, the school received 100 percent proficient/distinguished in both social studies and science. The seventh grade received 70 percent proficient/distinguished in reading.
Some of the concerns for Frakes revolve around a high percentage of novice and apprentice students in math at the elementary and middle grades. Gibson also stated their is a high percentage of novice and apprentice in elementary reading.
There were no students that scored proficient in writing at the elementary and middle grades, and 60 percent of the students scored novice in writing mechanics.
Gibson plans to improve in math by implementing Corrective Math this year. He also stated he and a first grade teacher attended a Singapore math work shop recently and plan to integrate those strategies with the current math system.
Frakes will continue the interventions they currently have in place, including reading mastery and reading recovery.
Lisa Smith, principal at Page School Center, reported her school took a hit in middle grade math. She said some of the problem could have resulted from a teacher change in the middle of the year.
She stated the school’s main success came in the form of middle level writing. The school had 65 percent of the students score proficient/distinguished. She also stated the elementary and middle school science and social studies had success.
There has been an upgrade in a reading program at the primary level. The upgraded program makes reading more interactive and may be able to take care of some issues with reading.
The school has also implemented calendar math through the sixth grade. The school also has Corrective Math. Smith stated the school uses para-educators on a daily basis.
Right Fork Elementary Principal Pam Collett announced the school ranked in the 81st percentile in the middle grades. Collett said the school was above the district and state average in reading, writing and language.
She also reported the school was above the district and state average in achievement and gap. The middle grade level was also above the district and state average in growth.
Right Fork fell behind in elementary growth. The elementary ranked in the 14th percentile in growth. Collett also stated the percentage of elementary and middle grade students in social studies was horrible.
Some things Collett plans to do to help the problems include Corrective Reading, Response to Intervention (RTI), Prep for Math, and many other programs.
When it comes to college and career readiness, 70 percent of students are at benchmark. In the 2011-2012 school year, 45 percent of the students were at benchmark.
Yellow Creek School Center principal Jerry Lawson said the school scored proficient with a 72 percent ranking. They also ranked first in the district in achievement and gap.
There was a significant amount of middle grade students who scored proficient/distinguished. There were 61 percent of students who scored proficient in science, 65 percent in writing, 78 percent in social studies and 57 percent in reading.
The sixth grade reading had a growth of 44 percent, while math had 62 percent growth and 8th grade reading had 55.3 percent growth.
At the elementary level, 50 percent of the students scored proficient in third grade reading, 70 percent in fourth grade science and 61 percent in fifth grade social studies.
The main areas for concerns for the school are in math. Lawson stated math is the greatest need across the board. Fifty percent of students scored apprentice in math.
He also stated several students scored novice in elementary reading.
Lawson plans to use all the data to place students in RTI groups. He also wants to continue using Corrective Math and Corrective Reading. There will also be a focus on special needs children.
The school will continue working on time assessments to mirror the K-PREP.
After school tutoring is also available, he said.
Kevin Wilder from Lone Jack School Center was not present at the meeting, but plans to address the board during its next meeting.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.