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Action plans spur improvement in GCSS 2019 CCRPI scores

Greensboro, Ga. – Greene County schools showed significant gains in 10 out of the 12 subject areas for which they implemented action plans last year, according to the recently released 2019 College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) results.

One area in which this is most evident is English Language Arts (ELA). All the schools implemented action plans for improvement in ELA during the 2018-19 school year.

“We realized that literacy was a critical issue for the entire district,” said Dr. Thomas McClendon, assistant superintendent for human resources and accountability.

Greene County High School raised its Content Mastery component ELA score by 16.27 points from last year, as did Union Point Steam Academy (now Greene County Primary School), which raised its score from the previous year by 9.08 points.

Greensboro Elementary School (now closed) demonstrated significant Content Mastery gains in ELA, science and social studies. Comparing the schools 2018 CCRPI scores to this year’s results, the school raised its scores by 2.41 points, 10.43 points and 21.36 points, respectively.

Another area in which the district showed dramatic improvement was Closing Gaps, the portion of the CCRPI that measures academic improvement for diverse groups of students, such as Special Education students and students affected by poverty, for example.

In this area, GES’s score jumped 44.5 points, UPSA’s score rose by 28.1 points, and Carson Middle School’s score rose 6.8 points.

These improvements in the Closing Gaps scores can be attributed to the schools’ efforts to differentiate instruction to meet students’ various learning needs, such as the implementation of Suzy Peppers Rollins’ “Teaching in the Fast Lane” strategies.

All schools once again received a school climate star rating of 3 or higher, reflecting the successes of the district’s system-wide implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

Despite the improvements in many of Greene County’s scores, the CCRPI shows room for improvement. The district’s math scores dropped across the board, showing a need for more targeted support in math for all grade levels this year.

GCHS’s graduation rate dropped 4 points from last year, but the district’s leadership team is confident they will see that number rise in next year’s report.

“We had a down year on this, but fully expect it to come back up by next year, especially with the measures we’ve recently implemented, such as the R.I.S.E. program and Foothills,” Dr. McClendon said.

Both programs are new at GCHS this year. The district’s partnership with Foothills Charter School allows students who are considering dropping out of high school the opportunity to transfer to a more flexible program that allows students to take classes online and in the evenings. The R.I.S.E. program offers an alternative learning environment within the high school to students who may struggle to learn via traditional classroom instruction.

This year’s CCRPI results once again raised concerns regarding the accuracy and reliability of the CCRPI as a measurement of a school’s progress. Statewide, Georgia’s CCRPI scores decreased at the elementary and middle school levels, while many schools demonstrated increases in national test scores and graduation rates.

An example of this disconnect can be seen in UPSA’s CCRPI results, which showed increases in 3 out of the 4 critical components used to compose the school’s CCRPI score. The school’s score in Closing Gaps jumped from 50.0 points in 2018 to 78.1 in this year’s report, while its content mastery score increased 56.7 to 60.5. The school’s readiness score increased as well from 75.1 to 77.6 and its school climate rating remained steady at 4 stars.

In fact, the only place the school’s score dropped was in one area of the Progress component: mathematics. However, despite all these gains, UPSA’s overall CCRPI score dropped by almost two points this year.

Governor Kemp voiced his concerns in a statement where he committed to partnering with State Superintendent Richard Woods to revise the way the CCRPI is calculated: “As we aim to lessen the number of high-stakes tests our students take, we need the weight of testing in CCRPI to reflect the same priorities,” Governor Kemp said.

GCSS Superintendent Dr. Chris Houston agreed, noting this is one reason why GCSS has chosen to join the NWEA Map Consortium. The NWEA MAP is administered throughout the year and provides teachers with timely results, while the results of Georgia Milestone testing (one of the main components used to calculate the CCRPI) are not released until well after the school year is over.

“I am a strong supporter of academic accountability, but there are issues with the CCRPI as evident by concerns stated by Governor Kemp,” Dr. Houston said. “The Milestone results arrive after the school year is over, so they are not useful for helping teachers make timely adjustments. This is why I made application to join the NWEA MAP Consortium, which is an alternative to the Milestones. This test will be aligned to the Georgia State Standards of Excellence and can be given 3 times a year to help us show where the students are at the beginning of the year, make adjustments necessary at mid-year, and hold ourselves accountable at year end.”