Almost half of Bartow’s elementary schools exceeded the state average but the county system overall saw its average score drop on a measure of how well Georgia public schools are preparing students for college or careers.

And Bartow’s superintendent said a process is already under way to address the main area which helped reduce the overall score from 2018.

The Bartow County School System recorded an overall score of 69.3 in 2019, which was more than five points below its 74.7 score in 2018 on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).

The average for all Georgia schools was 75.9 which also was below its 2018 score of 76.6, according to numbers the Georgia Department of Education released Oct. 25.

This year’s numbers showed Bartow schools were following a statewide trend of falling scores overall and in specific areas which comprise the Index, such as Closing Gaps.

Closing Gaps requires schools to meet achievement targets for all student subgroups, such as English learners or special needs students.

Bartow schools Superintendent Phillip Page said, “Unfortunately, falling in line with state trends, the Bartow County School System saw similar decreases in the Closing Gaps component of the 2019 (CCRPI) score.”

“Fortunately, a process is already in place to meet elevated achievement targets for all subgroups,” Page said.

“Through phase two of our Professional Learning Community culture shift, our teachers have a plan embedded within (their) collaboration which focuses on using common formative assessments to determine what our students understand and where they need more support in the essential skills,” Page said.

“The plan is intentional and methodical, and we’re confident we’ll see higher CCRPI scores across all components in 2020.”

Five Bartow elementary schools and one middle school had overall scores that were above the statewide average at their grade levels.

Individual Bartow elementary schools which exceeded the 2019 statewide average were Clear Creek, with an overall score of 77.4; Cloverleaf, 80.2; Euharlee, 82.7; Pine Log, 78.1; and White, 81.5. The average for all Georgia elementary schools was 77.1.

Cass Middle School’s average of 74.8 exceeded the statewide average of 72.1 for all middle schools statewide.

All public schools in the state are assessed using the Index, which is a measurement of school improvement and accountability designed to show how Georgia’s public schools are preparing students for college or careers, according to the education department.

Gov. Brian Kemp said he believed work “still needs to be done to support students and improve student achievement” while also “expressing a need to refine the CCRPI measurement to ensure it is a fair and stable measure that accurately captures school performance.”

“I am a strong supporter of holding schools accountable for increased student achievement, but in a year when we’ve seen nearly across-the-board increases in national test scores and graduation rates as well as Georgia Milestones scores, seeing the CCRPI show a decrease instead raises concerns about the measurement used to determine school and district achievement,” Kemp said.

“I believe that we need to engage in a thoughtful process to create an accountability system that paints a true picture of what’s happening in a school.”

HOW IT IS CALCULATED

The Index includes the following main components: Content Mastery, Progress, Closing Gaps, and Readiness. A Graduation Rate component is added to assess high schools.

The components, made up of multiple indicators, are combined for a total Index score on a scale of 0 to 100.

Each category of the Index counts for a certain percentage of the overall score:

♦ Elementary and middle schools: Content Mastery 30 percent; Progress 35 percent; Closing Gaps 15 percent; Readiness 20 percent.

♦ High school: Content Mastery 30 percent; Progress 30 percent; Closing Gaps 10 percent; Readiness 15 percent; Graduation Rate 15 percent.

The Index also reports other information, such as school climate and financial efficiency status.

The state has used the Index as an accountability measure of continuous improvement since 2012.

However, it was redesigned for the 2017-2018 school year and 2019 results can only be compared to 2018 for a true comparison, a news release stated.

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