Education

MCSD improves for 4th straight year on Georgia’s school performance index

Muscogee County Public Education Center
Muscogee County Public Education Center photo@ledger-enquirer.com

For the fourth straight year, the Muscogee County School District has improved its score to its all-time high on the index that measures public education performance and progress in the state.

The Georgia Department of Education announced the 2017 College and Career Ready Performance Index scores in a news release Thursday.

This is the sixth annual edition of the CCRPI, implemented in 2012 to replace the Adequately Yearly Progress measurement. The CCRPI combines state-mandated annual data, including the graduation rate and the Georgia Milestones Assessment System standardized tests, into one number on a 100-point scale to communicate how well public schools are doing.

MCSD’s 2017 CCRPI is 71.0, a half-point increase from its 70.5 in 2016. Muscogee’s score was 67.2 in 2012, 66.5 in 2013, 68.5 in 2014 and 69.0 in 2015.

Although MCSD’s score continued to increase, it also continued to lag behind the state average -- and fell behind the state’s improvement pace. The average CCRPI in Georgia increased by 1.4 points, from 73.6 points in 2016 to 75.0 in 2017.

Compared to the school districts in Georgia’s other second-tier cities, Muscogee County (Columbus) continued to outperform Bibb County (Macon), Chatham County (Savannah) and Richmond County (Augusta), but those districts also improved more on the CCRPI than MCSD.

Bibb County’s score increased by 3.5 points, from 61.4 in 2016 to 64.9 in 2017. Chatham County’s score increased by 2.4 points, from 64.5 in 2016 to 66.9 in 2017. Richmond County’s score increased by 6.6 points, from 57.9 in 2016 to 64.5 in 2017.

This weekend, the Ledger-Enquirer will report this 2017 CCRPI scores for each Muscogee County school.

Meanwhile, the CCRPI in Harris County and Chattahoochee County decreased after the scores for those school districts adjacent to Muscogee County also had reached their all-time highs last year.

Following improved scores the previous two years, the Harris County School District’s CCRPI decreased by 1.5 points, from 83.0 in 2016 to 81.5 in 2017. Harris County’s score was 75.6 in 2012, 81.3 in 2013, 77.4 in 2014 and 79.6 in 2015.

The Chattahoochee County School District’s CCRPI climbed above the state average for the first time last year. But it fell back below the state average this year. ChattCo’s 2017 score of 72.2 is a 3.7-point drop from 75.9 in 2016. Its CCRPI was 66.9 in 2012, 69.9 in 2013, 60.4 in 2014 and 67.4 in 2015.

The Troup County School System’s CCRPI also fell below the state average. It dropped by 3.2 points, from 74.8 in 2016 to 71.6 in 2017. Troup County’s CCRPI was 75.6 in 2012, 75.7 in 2013, 69.7 in 2014 and 78.3 in 2015.

Muscogee County

Breaking down Muscogee’s CCRPI, the district is below the state average at the elementary school and middle school level but above the state average at the high school level.

MCSD’s average score among its elementary schools is 67.5, 5.4 points below the state average of 72.9. MCSD’s average score among its middle schools is 66.1, 6.9 points below the state average of 73.0, but that gap is narrower compared to 2016, when it was 7.1 points. MCSD’s average score among its high schools is 77.3, 0.3 points above the state average of 77.0 – the fourth straight year MCSD’s high school CCRPI surpassed the state average.

In a news release Thursday, MCSD superintendent David Lewis said he is pleased with another year of overall improvement on the CCRPI, the middle schools closing their gap with the state average and the high schools again outperforming the state average.

Then he added, “While we appreciate the recent reduction in state testing, we are concerned about a reduced emphasis on science and social studies, which we know are equally important to English language arts and math.”

Georgia Senate Bill 364, which the legislature approved in 2016, eliminated the science and social studies end-of-grade tests in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7, starting in 2017.

In addition to standardized test scores and graduation rates, the CCRPI formula, which has been changed through the years, also includes student attendance, academic growth and success in closing student performance gaps. The index comprises three main factors adding up to 100 points:

▪ Achievement 50 points.

▪ Progress 40 points.

▪ Achievement Gap 10 points.

Achievement is based on standardized test scores and graduation rate. Progress is determined by Student Growth Percentile, defined as improvement compared to other students with similar prior achievement. Achievement Gap compares the achievement of a school’s bottom 25 percent of students with the state average on standardized tests.

Schools also may receive a maximum of 10 Challenge Points, accounting for the percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged, English learners or disabled. Challenge Points also may be awarded for participation in college and career readiness programs that exceed expectations.

This is the third year for results utilizing the new Georgia Milestones Assessment System, weighted content mastery, recalculated performance targets and changes to the overall category weights, shifting the emphasis more toward student growth than in previous years. This is the first year growth in science and social studies scores were not used in the CCRPI calculation because those tests no longer are given in some grade levels.

“The greater emphasis in CCRPI is now on English language arts and math rather than all subjects being equally weighted,” Patrick Knopf, MCSD’s director of research, accountability and assessment, said in the news release.

MCSD chief academic officer Keith Seifert said in the news release that the results indicate “our ELA curriculum resources and teacher instructional practices are making a difference in student achievement. In an effort to provide more support for our teachers and students, we are currently reviewing mathematics curriculum resources that align with our state standards.”

Another way the MCSD is trying to boost student performance, the release says, is “implementing a restructured school improvement process, including personalized monitoring meetings called Live Meetings. These Live Meetings are conducted through video conferencing and are personally facilitated by Superintendent Lewis with his senior staff in an effort to ensure school leadership teams are supported throughout their school improvement efforts. The Live Meetings give school leadership teams the opportunity to discuss professional learning efforts, curriculum and/or instructional resource utilization, human resources needs and facility and operational support.”

Harris County

Despite its CCRPI falling this year from its all-time high last year, Harris County continues to have the best score in the Columbus area and remains above the state average.

Harris County’s decline was across all levels: elementary schools (from 80.2 in 2016 to 79.1 in 2017), middle school (from 83.4 in 2016 to 79.4 in 2017) and high school (from 85.5 in 2016 to 83.9 in 2017).

Chief information officer Jeff Branham, on behalf of superintendent Jimmy Martin, told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email, “We believe the scores are strong in general. We know that the scores differed from last year’s scores in some schools due to calculation changes.”

Branham noted the performance of the district’s Hispanic students “shows much improvement. We still seek out improvements for African American students in English language arts and math in some of our elementary settings. We are also targeting several areas for improvement for Students with Disabilities in all schools.

“We continue to address these concerns through fresh initiatives that tap into small groups of students. This is especially being addressed through unique tutoring programs at HCCMS (Harris County Carver Middle School) and HCHS (Harris County High School) that target students who are struggling readers.”

Chattahoochee County

Although ChattCo’s CCRPI score also fell this year from its all-time high last year, superintendent David McCurry told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email, “I'm very proud of the progress our school system has made over the past few years.”

McCurry called the high school “the shining star” of the district. “Their 2017 CCRPI score (79.1, compared to 75.8 last year) is the highest ever,” he said, “and for the second year in a row they have exceeded the state average.”

The CCRPI at the elementary school plummeted from 89.5 in 2016 to 72.2 in 2017. McCurry’s reaction: “ChattCo Elementary has been above or very close to the state average all but one year since CCRPI started in 2012. I've no doubt our elementary teachers and students will respond and get those scores back up to where they were, if not higher.”

The middle school improved its CCRPI from 49.0 in 2016 to 52.2 in 2017.

“Though I truly hoped ChattCo Middle School scores would see more of an increase in 2017, I'm still pleased that their score did improve (by 3.2 points) compared to 2016,” McCurry said. “This is the second year in a row they've shown an increase for a total of 11 points. We will continue to make progress there.”

CCRPI SCORES

Here are the College and Career Ready Performance Index scores for Columbus area school district and the school district’s in Georgia’s other second-tier cities, comparing 2016 to 2017 on the 100-point scale:

District

2016

2017

+/-

Muscogee County

70.5

71.0

+0.5

Harris County

83.0

81.5

-1.5

Chattahoochee County

75.9

72.2

-3.7

Troup County

74.8

71.6

-3.2

Bibb County

61.4

64.9

+3.5

Chatham County

64.5

66.9

+2.4

Richmond County

57.9

64.5

+6.6

State average

73.6

75.0

+1.4

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