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Jeff Meadors: It's time to heed what the data are telling us

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

K-8 data in the Newton County School System (NCSS) reveals highly effective teaching in these classrooms.

The Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) measures student achievement in early years in reading and other core areas. Students can exceed test criteria, meet test criteria or fail to meet criteria.

For fiscal year 2011 reading scores in grade 3, a critical year for literacy projections, the following is true. Having improved each of the last three fiscal years 96 percent of NCSS students met or exceeded criteria in reading. Nearly 40 percent exceeded criteria. The numbers are equally impressive in all core areas.

Broken down by subgroups in grade 3: 100 percent of Asian students met or exceeded criteria, 94 percent of black students, 95 percent of Hispanic students and 97 percent of white students. Ninety-five percent of males, 96 percent of females, 89 percent of students with disabilities and 94 percent of students with limited English proficiency (LEP) met or exceeded criteria. NCSS K - 2 teachers are exposing students to more complex texts and grade 3 - 8 teachers are getting results now. By eighth grade 98 percent of students meet or exceed reading criteria.

Yet when triangulating CRCT data with HOPE Scholarship eligibility and fiscal year 2012 SAT scores (2012 seniors) -- all tied to reading, analyzing and solving problems -- serious questions loom.

Fiscal year 2011 data show HOPE Scholarship eligibility for Alcovy High at 37.7 percent, Eastside High at 54.8 percent, Newton High at 41.4 percent, the county average at 43.6 percent and the state average at 40.2 percent.

Fiscal year 2012 SAT scores for Alcovy reflect a 10-point drop in critical reading and a 12-point decline in math from fiscal year 2011, down double digits for college aptitude. Alcovy scores of 445 in reading and 428 in math fell below county, state and national averages.

Eastside High increased 8 points to 489 in critical reading and 12 points to 470 in math. Eastside surpassed the county and state in reading falling 7 points shy of the national average and surpassed only the county in math. A double digit increase in math is dramatic given state changes in math curriculum.

Newton High increased 15 points in critical reading to 443 and 4 points to 430 in math from fiscal year 2011. A double digit increase in critical reading is a tough chore.

Fiscal year 2012 SAT state averages in critical reading were 488 and 489 in math. National averages were 496 and 514 respectively.

What strategic plan is in place to mitigate HOPE Scholarship eligibility and of what are double digit drops in SAT subtests symptomatic? Finally, with double-digit increases in SAT math at Eastside and in SAT critical reading at Newton what is going on in these buildings to generate such gains?

Artful dodging and dressing up of data must end. We must diagnose our weaknesses and strengths and align the right personnel in leadership to benefit the only players in this game we work for: students.

Jeff Meadors may be reached at pjeffreymeadors@gmail.com

Comments

56vick 1 year, 11 months ago

It is very interesting that the one school (Eastside) had the district lines laid out just for it .I don't think it was a coincidence that when NCSS board members had kids in school they were all sent to Eastside .When it comes to Eastside racism still exsists . When it comes to test scores they are easily influenced by who is and is not persauded to take SAT .If teachers were paid on a level with how well their students did then I think you would see a change.What other business awards pay and merit monies when they are not producing..

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amp72 1 year, 11 months ago

You cry about racism and yet you call EHS and BOE members who sent their kids there racist. Brilliant. Have you looked at the data? Why are the EHS numbers so high? Any guesses? I would venture to say it is a combination of leadership, academic rigor, clear expectation, discipline, parenting, and hard work. It's not "racist," it's common sense. Where would you send your kids? Yeah, that's what I thought.....

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will 1 year, 11 months ago

56vick, When you said "racism still exsist," you lost everyones respect. Racism is a word used by stupid people who cant stand on their own two feet. There are plenty of thugs at Eastside also but the difference is in the administration. There is a total lack of admin. at Alcovy and the BOE is scared to do anything about it because they will be in litigation and called racists. Its also a lack of parenting issue in the failing schools.

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gsm7476 1 year, 11 months ago

Its going going its out here Home run.

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MamaTurd 1 year, 11 months ago

I can't help but notice something that really caught my attention in this article and what Hunter Hall said, I can't see how dressing the data up to look more impressive to others ,would actually help our school system improve? Even though Hunter tends not to agree he is really under the impression that if we lie and cover things up then everything will be kosher as they say. Ah contraer Hunter dear if we do this it makes us look like a bunch of desperate fools to make Newton county look spectacular oh please there is no such thing as perfect no school system, not people nothing there is no such thing. The only difference between them and us is we bring it to the surface with lawsuits and things and they keep it where it needs to be between the BOE and the others. I do think that other BOE's probably back one another.

We need this fixed like now!!!!

This is exactly why we need the articles to find out truth.

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Satan69 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow really gsm? I would say more of grandslam.

Meadors-5 Hall-0

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Grandcanyon 1 year, 11 months ago

Racist really 56vick? Why is it because the numbers are high at Eastside their racist? Wierd. That was pretty much out of line hey maye you and Mr Hall should hang out!!! But at will some of the BOE members are afraid to do anything your right then you have a super who bad mouths one of his members. What is really going on?

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56vick 1 year, 11 months ago

Grandcanyon I can tell by your statement that you were educated in a public school.Bless your heart

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covington300 1 year, 11 months ago

All this sounds great, however the real data that should be analyzed isn't based on race, it's based on days out of the classroom. Students must be in the classroom and receive direct instruction in order to be successful. When students attend school regulary and are in classrooms which are managed effectively, students learn and succeed. When this doesn't happen, they do not learn, they do not succeed, and data is misread.

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Shart15 1 year, 11 months ago

That is exactly right it has nothing to do with race people it has to do with attendance, instruction and effectiveness I completely agree. Hasn't everyone seen the huge poster that says "Kids Learn By Example"? This true no matter what the case school, home life, life in general if there are not good examples set in any of these there is no structure and what do they learn? Nothing?

Theres your data.

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Duster 1 year, 11 months ago

"Racist" is just the new word to give explanation to failure. Everybody writing about this article shows that they care about what is going on with our kids. But everyone is also scared to state the real facts about the problem. We have taken what’s really important out of school. I not talking religion! That’s also a dirty word. But "Learning" They cant learn because they have to stay at ball practice or some other sport to the late hours. Don’t do homework and dare anyone to say anything. When its time to leave school grades are down, Discipline has not taken place, and the fact that there grades will hold them back for going to college or pro sports infuriates the parents. It’s sad. Look at the ones that have the big degrees. Yeah they went to school for it. But the ones that went to work, joined the service, got out and made their way are the smart ones. They know a lot more about life and the world then most professional students that graduate and get to be there boss. I work with many good college-educated people. But each one worked the real world and put them selves through school. We have taken the principle of being taught out of our schools, and put the spotlight on what the child wants. At 15 or 16 years and younger these kids have no clue to what they want. And should not be given a choice in how they act at school. jmo!

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