Test results presented; feedback sought

As the Jackson County School System seeks input from stakeholders about the measures of success that matter, results of last spring’s state-wide standardized tests are being reported and made available to parents.

Troy Johnson, JCSS’s director of school improvement and accountability, presented summary results of Georgia Milestones to members of the Jackson County Board of Education at their Aug. 9, 2018, work session.

“These tests are one measure of student achievement and success,” Dr. April Howard, JCSS superintendent, said. “We hope parents will take advantage of a survey posted last week and our Community Conversations, set for later this month, to help us understand the feedback they value and the measures of progress and achievement that are meaningful to them.”

We want and need your input. Visit http://bit.ly/JCSS_18Survey to complete a VERY short survey, and plan to join one of the Community Conversations, set Aug. 23 at EJCHS and Aug. 27 at JCCHS. Those meetings begin at 6 p.m. in the schools' auditoriums.

The county will host community meetings that begin at 6 p.m. in the auditoriums at East Jackson County and Jackson County comprehensive high schools. The EJCHS meeting is set for Aug. 23; the JCCHS meeting is Aug. 27.

A short survey also is available online at http://bit.ly/JCSS_18Survey.

Johnson reported overall increases in performance in seven of the 12 end-of-course scores for eighth-graders and high school students tested in literacy, math, science and social studies, with similar performance or a minor dip in performance in three areas, and an overall decrease in two areas at the high school level.

He reported an overall increase in 12 end-of-grade measures for third- through fifth-graders in the same four areas. Similar performance or minor reductions in performance were shown in nine areas, and nine areas had overall decreases in performance system-wide.

His full presentation is available online at http://bit.ly/JCSS_Milestones18.

The tests designate learners as beginning, developing, proficient and distinguished, and Johnson represented the range of results from individual schools with bar graphs that changed from red to green, showing the percentage of students at each level. “Our goal is for every student to score at the proficient and distinguished level,” Johnson explained, indicating the light and dark green bars.

The top of each bar shows a number that reflects the percentage of change from the previous year’s performance, and a dashed line designating Georgia’s proficiency level crosses each graph to show the comparison with students across the state.

Johnson cautioned that the number at the top of each bar could be misleading without taking a closer look. “For example, West Jackson Middle School’s eighth-graders showed a drop of 6 percentage points in algebra from last year,” he said, “but 65 percent of those students scored as proficient and 26 percent as distinguished, with just 1 percent as beginning and 7 percent as developing. “While we still want them higher, those are pretty good numbers.”

Some of the biggest gains reported on the tests, which were taken last spring, were in math and science. Maysville Elementary Schools fifth-graders posted a 35 percent increase in scores in math over 2017, Jackson County Comprehensive High School boosted high school algebra scores by 27 percent, and 21-percent increases were recorded for North Jackson Elementary School in third-grade math and Gum Springs Elementary School in fifth-grade science.

Schools are in the process of providing parents with their children’s individual scores. Those with questions are asked to call their children’s schools for additional information.

JCSS serves approximately 8,000 students in 10 elementary, middle and high schools across Jackson County.