The Muscogee County School District has achieved its highest score in the three-year history of the state report that measures how well public systems educate their children.
The Georgia Department of Education released this week its 2014 College and Career Readiness Performance Index. While the scores for the overall state average and in neighboring counties dropped, Muscogee County's rating increased.
On a 100-point scale, Muscogee's CCRPI gained 1.9 points, from 66.5 to 68.4, after declining 0.7 points the previous year. The state average moved in the opposite direction. After improving from 74.1 in 2012 to 75.8 in 2013, it fell to 72.0 in 2014.
The scores in Harris and Chattahoochee counties followed the state average down. Harris dropped 3.9 points, from 81.3 in 2013 to 77.4 in 2014, after gaining 5.7 points the previous year. Chattahoochee fell 9.5 points, from 69.9 in 2013 to 60.4 in 2014, after improving 3.0 points the previous year.
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. 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.
The CCRPI includes factors such as standardized test scores, graduation and attendance rates, academic growth and progress in closing student performance gaps. The overall score for a school or district is based on three main areas:
Achievement, 60 points possible.
Progress, 25 points possible.
Achievement gap, 15 points possible.
As many as 10 extra points, called Challenge Points, may be awarded for a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, English learner students or disabled students meeting expectations. Extra points also are earned if students exceed expectations by participating in college and career readiness programs.
Highlights of Muscogee County's CCRPI report:
33 of 53 schools (62 percent) improved on last year's scores.
23 of 33 elementary schools (70 percent) improved on last year's scores.
7 of 9 high schools (78 percent) improved on last year's scores.
"We are glad to see our highest district total CCRPI score to date," MCSD superintendent David Lewis said in a news release Thursday. "In addition, the majority of our schools improved, which tells us the district realignment and curriculum adjustments that began over the last few years
are having a positive impact."
A lowlight, however, not mentioned in Muscogee's release is in grades 6-8, where only three of 11 middle schools (27 percent) improved on last year's scores. District officials didn't respond by deadline to the Ledger-Enquirer's questions about the decline in middle school performance.
Jeff Branham, the Harris County School District's communications and human resources director, explained the decline in Harris' overall score by noting, "The test calculations have changed and CCRPI scores statewide have dropped. Updated calculations require schools and districts to meet higher expectations to earn higher scores."
Asked what the district is doing to address that concern, Branham said, "Many efforts are being made to address the various subgroups and tailor instruction to those students needing additional coaching. Tutoring occurs during the school day, after school and during the summer."
The most positive result in the Harris report, Branham said, was that "many of our schools had an increase in their overall scores. Every Harris County school had major improvements in subgroups, including students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged, Hispanic and multiracial students."
In Chattahoochee County, superintendent David McCurry said he is most alarmed by the achievement gap.
"I plan to begin dialogue in January with administration and teachers in each school regarding this issue," he said. "We need to research and identify strategies that can be used to raise achievement for all subgroups."
McCurry, however, is encouraged by ChattCo's improvement in the following areas: attendance rate, graduation rate and some standardized tests. He also praised the special-education program for earning the best possible score for being instructed in the mainstream setting at the elementary and middle school levels.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.
Click on this story at www.ledger-enqurier.com for links to the complete CCRPI reports for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
District 2012 2013 2014
Muscogee 67.2 66.5 68.4
Harris 75.6 81.3 77.4
ChattCo 66.9 69.9 60.4
State 74.1 75.8 72.0