Superintendent forecasts improvement on state test scores

COVINGTON -- Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews said each school that the system governs will show improvements over the last three years on state test results that will be released to the public Tuesday.

"We did pretty well," he said Wednesday during a public meeting, adding that he's seen the results, but they are embargoed to the public until Tuesday. "I think you'll find that for every single school in the Newton County School System ... there is a rate of improvement that is significantly positive."

He said this statement does not include Challenge Charter Academy, which is an independent charter school with a separate board of directors that is part of NCSS. The school is expected to close at the end of the school year.

Mathews also noted that even the school with the least improvement shows a 29 percent improvement over the last three years, and it's already performing in the high 90s on a 100-point scale.

"It's hard to improve when you're already at the top," he said.

The Georgia Department of Education is expected to publicly release results of the College & Career Readiness Performance Index late Tuesday morning.

State officials previously have reported that schools will be graded based on a complicated index that will give schools and systems a score on a scale of 0 to 100 points based on areas like End of Course Tests and graduation rates in high schools and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and predictors of graduation at the elementary and middle schools.

Schools will receive an overall score, and individual scores in achievement, progress, achievement gap closure and exceeding the bar, as well as ratings in financial efficiency and school climate.

Mathews said that the student improvement over the last three years on CRCTs and the EOCTs has made the CCRPI results better than what they could have been.

"I'm proud of that. We're on a positive trajectory," Mathews said. "It's one we hope to sustain for sure. State assessments are getting more rigorous, more difficult."

Mathews said that progress has been made and will continue to be made.

"No single school graded is where they want to be," he said. "I'm very, very pleased with the rate of improvement of every single school. We've got a ways to go, but we're not where we were."

He said the results still could be tied to federal funding.

Since 2001, schools in Georgia were scored based on similar data and had to meet Adequate Yearly Progress requirements based on the federal No Child Left Behind Act. By 2014, the act required that all students must be proficient in reading and math.

Last year, Georgia and several other states received a waiver for NCLB, and the CCRPI will now be tied to state accountability measures.