School performance index: Muscogee slips, others improve

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comApril 21, 2014 

The Muscogee County School District administration building is at 2960 Macon Road.

MIKE HASKEY — mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

The Georgia Department of Education released Monday its second annual College and Career Ready Performance Index, based on a 100-point scale. The Muscogee County School District's rating slipped this past year while the ratings for Harris and Chattahoochee counties improved along with the state average.

Muscogee County's overall score decreased 0.7 points, from 67.2 in 2012 to 66.5 in 2013. Harris County improved 5.7 points, from 75.6 in 2012 to 81.3 in 2013. Chattahoochee County improved 3.0 points, from 66.9 in 2012 to 69.9 in 2013. The state average improved 1.7 points, from 74.1 in 2012 to 75.8 in 2013.

The state implemented CCRPI in 2012 after the U.S Department of Education granted it a waiver to replace the Adequate Yearly Progress measurement established under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Muscogee superintendent David Lewis, hired in July from Polk County, Fla., said he didn’t have a chance to look at the report in detail, “but I think it points to the reason why we’re making some of the changes we’re making. We did not have a reading program in place prior to this year, and we’ll be bringing a math program for the board’s consideration next month.

“It’s also important to point out that these results are a year old. Nonetheless, the state is making those improvements, and we’ve got to catch up, and the initiatives we’re putting in place are for that purpose.”

Such as reducing the high school schedules from eight periods to seven periods. Muscogee’s high school CCRPI decreased 8.2 points, from 78.8 in 2012 to 70.6 in 2013.

“The achievement gap is where the biggest problem seems to lie,” Lewis said. “We’ve got to meet that head on. In my experience, it’s typically harder to move high schools. They’re bigger and more complex. But if we don’t fix the gaps early on, they just grow exponentially later on.”

Muscogee’s CCRPI for elementary schools (plus-1.3) and middle schools (plus-4.6) improved. Lewis again said he didn’t have time to analyze the report, but he suggested the district’s “data teams” analyzing test scores and the “standards-based classrooms” are making a positive difference.

Based on feedback from education professionals and the public after the 2012 CCRPI report, the state’s education department revised the index, so the 2013 report and the 2012 scores are based on the new formula to allow valid comparisons, said Matt Cardoza, the department’s communications director.

“The new rules are a much higher bar for schools,” Cardoza said.

That’s why Harris County’s improvement is even more impressive to interim superintendent Jeff Branham.

“We applaud all students, schools, teachers and parents for their hard work in this process,” he said. “We are particularly proud that every school in the district demonstrated gains in subgroup areas. We know we cannot be complacent with overall great achievement without paying attention to our subgroups as well.” Branham acknowledged Harris County Carver Middle School’s 2.4-point decline in CCRPI, from 85.1 in 2012 to 82.7 in 2013, and said, “We will be addressing this to improve scores in the critical middle grades area.”

In Chattahoochee County, superintendent Jimmy Martin is finishing his sixth year as schools chief before taking the top job in Harris County on July 1. Martin praised ChattCo’s progress, noting teachers have been working with struggling students before and after school.

“And most of them are doing it without additional compensation,” he said. “That says a lot about their dedication and professionalism.”

Along with Harris County, the middle school CCRPI also dropped in ChattCo – but more alarmingly, by 7.5 points, from 64.4 in 2012 to 56.9 in 2013. Martin attributes part of the decline to disappointing results on the writing assessment. He emphasized the writing assessment score improved 13 points this year, so it should help the middle school’s 2014 CCRPI improve next year.

“The most encouraging part is that the teachers saw the writing as a higher degree of urgency,” he said.

The CCRPI comprises measurements in three categories: achievement (60 percent), progress (25 points) and achievement gap (15 points), based on standardized tests. “Challenge points” are added for having a significant number of students meeting expectations despite being economically disadvantaged, English learners or disabled. Challenge points also can be added for “exceeding the bar” with initiatives that go beyond regular instruction to achieve college and career readiness.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the scores. The complete reports are available by clicking on the links attached to this story.

Muscogee County CCRPI scores

Category: 2012 | 2013 | (Percent change)

• District: 67.2 | 66.5 | (-0.7)

• Elementary schools: 61.4 | 62.7 | (+1.3)

• Middle schools: 64.8 | 69.4 | (+4.6)

• High schools: 78.8 | 70.6 | (-8.2)

Harris County CCRPI scores

• District: 75.6 | 81.3 | (+5.7)

• Elementary schools: 70.7 | 83.6 | (+12.9)

• Middle school: 85.1 | 82.7 | (-2.4)

• High school: 75.2 | 77.1 | (+1.9)

Chattahoochee County CCRPI scores

• District: 66.9 | 69.9 | (+3.0)

• Elementary school: 85.4 | 86.2 | (+0.8)

• Middle school: 64.4 | 56.9 | (-7.5)

• High school: 58.4 | 65.0 | (+6.6)

Georgia CCRPI scores

• State: 74.1 | 75.8 | (+1.7)

• Elementary schools: 74.9 | 78.5 | (+3.6)

• Middle schools: 73.9 | 75.0 | (+1.1)

• High schools: 73.0 | 72.0 | (-1.0)

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