City TCAP scores show slower growth
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Aug 04, 2014 | 1002 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Editor’s Note: This is the second of two articles explaining local students’ TCAP test scores. Today’s installment focuses on Cleveland City Schools.)

Results from the 2014 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program revealed the Cleveland City Schools system’s growth scores are lower than those seen in the previous year.

Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Martin Ringstaff quickly assured the school system actually “did pretty well.”

“I am happy with what we have done and here is why: I believe our teachers ... worked smarter and harder than they have ever worked,” he said. “They did what we asked them to do.” 

Public school students in the third through eighth grades take the TCAP Achievement Test, which assesses their knowledge in reading, math, science and social studies. High school students take End of Course exams for Algebra I-III, Biology I, English I-III and U.S. history.

School systems are judged on their achievement scores determined through the annual measurable objective and growth performance charts. Scores are separated into four categories: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.

Cleveland City Schools’ reached at least 45 percent proficient or advanced in all of the subjects tested. Growth of up to 17.3 percent was seen in the results. However, the growth celebrated after the 2013 TCAP was not reflected in the 2014 results.

Ringstaff pointed toward the incongruity between students learning Common Core State Standards and being tested on a different set of standards through the TCAP as a possible culprit for the lower scores.

He said the school system intends to alter its plan of action going into the 2014-15 school year in light of state legislators’ decision to continue the use of TCAP through the end of the school year.

Score results for grades third through eighth in the city schools system included: 

n Reading: 14.6 percent below basic; 39.9 percent basic; 35.9 percent proficient; 9.6 percent advanced; and a 5.3 percent decrease;

n Math: 19.5 percent below basic; 31.5 percent basic; 27.9 percent proficient; 21.1 percent advanced; and a 2.8 percent decrease;

n Science: 16.7 percent below basic; 26.7 percent basic; 42.7 percent proficient; 13.9 percent advanced; and a 3.4 percent decrease; and

n Social Studies: 0 percent below basic; 18.4 percent basic; 44.6 percent proficient; 37 percent advanced; and a 1.7 decrease.

Ringstaff was quick to point out schools all across Tennessee have struggled with reading assessments. Results provided through the Tennessee Department of Education revealed less than 35 school systems experienced growth in reading. A majority of the growth was less than 2 percent.

The Department of Education also mentioned progress in reading for grades 3-8 statewide “dropped slightly.” The subject was labeled as “an area with continued need for improvement.”

Score results for high school in the Cleveland City Schools system included: 

n Algebra I: 15.8 percent below basic; 27.5 percent basic; 32.4 percent proficient; 24.3 percent advanced; and a decrease of 1 percent;

n Algebra II: 14.2 percent below basic; 26.4 percent basic; 40.8 percent proficient; 18.6 percent advanced; and a growth of 17.3 percent;

n Biology I: 17.6 percent below basic; 25 percent basic; 42.5 percent proficient; 14.9 percent advanced; and a decrease of 6.3 percent;

n English I: 4.9 percent below basic; 21.1 percent basic; 65.4 percent proficient; 8.6 percent advanced; and a decrease of 1 percent;

n English II: 7.3 percent below basic; 26.2 percent basic; 48.8 percent proficient; 17.7 percent advanced; and a growth of .3 percent;

n English III: 15.8 percent below basic; 34.8 percent basic; 35.3 percent proficient; 14.1 percent advanced; and a decrease of 1.6 percent; and

n U.S. History: .1 percent below basic; 4.6 percent basic; 48.7 percent proficient; 46.6 percent advanced; and a decrease of 3.4 percent.

Ringstaff said a special emphasis was placed on Algebra II last year in light of the 2013 TCAP results. The subject’s growth as reflected by TCAP was the largest for the city school system. The director of schools said the same focus would be placed on several additional subjects during the 2014-15 school year.

The school system showed a cumulative 26.5 percent decrease across the 11 categories and a 17.6 percent increase between Algebra II and English II. The highest decrease in any particular category was 6.3 percent in Biology I. The lowest decrease in any particular category was 1 percent in both English I and Algebra I.

Ringstaff confirmed the school system’s attention to the results.

“We have great places to cheer and we have areas of concern that we need to focus on and we will,” he said. “I think our instructional team of principals have seen the data. They know what they need to hit, and we’ll move the school system forward.”

Added Ringstaff, “Cleveland did well under the circumstances. I have every optimistic thought in the world we will do what is right.”

Inset Quote:

“We have great places to cheer and we have areas of concern that we need to focus on and we will. I think our instructional team of principals have seen the data. They know what they need to hit, and we’ll move the school system forward. Cleveland did well under the circumstances. I have every optimistic thought in the world we will do what is right.”  — Dr. Martin Ringstaff