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Newton elementary, middle schools improve on state scorecard

COVINGTON – Newton County elementary and middle schools achieved an overall increase in the past year on the 2013 College and Career Readiness Performance Index, while high school scores dropped from those of 2012.

The scores, released by the state Department of Education Monday morning, showed that Newton’s elementary schools received an average CCRPI score of 78 on the 100-point scale for 2013, a few points more than in 2012 but slightly below the state average of 78.5. Middle schools in Newton County scored 76.1 in 2013, compared to 70.1 in 2012, exceeding the state average of 75. Newton’s high school scores went from 78.6 in 2012 to 69.5 this year, less than the state average of 71.8.

The school system as a whole increased its score from 73.4 in 2012 to 75.2 in 2013. The state score stands at 75.8 for 2013, compared to 74.1 for 2012.

“Overall, I am pleased that our schools continue to demonstrate steady improvement, and the district, as a whole, is keeping pace with the rest of the state,” said Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “I am proud of the hard work and dedication of our school and district staff and leaders. We pledge to continue to work diligently to ensure our students are well-prepared for options beyond high school.”

The CCRPI replaced the No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress measurement in Georgia in 2012. The index was designed around a comprehensive definition of college and career readiness, or the level of achievement required in order for a student to enroll in two- or four-year colleges and universities and technical colleges without remediation, fully prepared for college-level work and careers, according to the state. College and career readiness is measured through scores on the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests at the elementary and middle school levels and End-of-Course Tests at the high school level.

In addition to the new 2013 scores released Monday, the state also released recalculated scores for the 2012 school year. According to the DOE, since the first year of implementation of the CCRPI, the state has received feedback from educators and the public and has revised the CCRPI to create a more meaningful report.

“Many people have worked hard to make sure the CCRPI provides the most accurate, effective measure possible of the work schools are doing to prepare students for success,” state School Superintendent John Barge said. “This is an index that is both comprehensive and simple to understand, and it is an important component of our efforts to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for whatever they choose to do, whether that be going to college, joining the military, or immediately beginning a career.”

All but a handful of schools in the Newton school system showed improvement in 2013. Among Newton’s high schools, only Eastside showed a score increase, going from 80.2 in 2012 to 81.1 in 2013. Alcovy High scored 69.1, compared to 75.6 in 2012; and Newton scored 69.8, compared to 78.4 in 2012.

CCRPI scores are made up of three major areas: achievement (60 points possible); progress (25 points possible); and achievement gap (15 points possible).

In addition, schools can receive up to 10 Challenge Points to add to their score by having a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learner students and students with disabilities meeting expectations.

Schools also can receive points for going beyond the targets of the CCRPI by challenging students to exceed expectations and participate in college and career ready programs, according to the state.