LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two public high schools in Jefferson County are seeking an appeal to the Kentucky Department of Education, asking the state to reconsider the labels given to Valley and Fern Creek high schools following the release of their latest test scores, according to a proposal up for board approval on Tuesday.

In order to exit, schools must meet their annual goals for three consecutive years, no longer be identified as being in the lowest five percent in the state and score at or above an 80 percent graduation rate for three consecutive years, according to new regulations that took effect in June 2015.

Valley High principal Rob Stephenson wrote in his appeal letter that his school has met its goal for four consecutive years, is out of the lowest five percent based on their overall score, and has a graduation rate of 79.8.

JCPS is asking the state to consider using the same criteria for exiting that was in place when Valley entered priority status, which was a 70 percent graduation rate.

In Fern Creek's case, the school is appealing its designation as a proficient school, saying it deserves to keep its label as a distinguished school.

Fern Creek High principal Nate Meyer says his school was negatively affected this year by a new state calculation called novice reduction, which gives schools points depending on whether they met certain goals on moving students out of the lowest-performing category.

In its proposed appeal, Fern Creek High says the novice reduction calculation has an "arbitrary" effect on a school's overall score. He gave an example: the exclusion of one limited-English proficient student decreased the school's overall score from 75.4 to 74.3, which dropped the school's designation from distinguished to proficient.

"One student represents 0.0625 percent of Fern Creek’s population, but approximately 2 percent of our Learner’s score," the appeal reads.

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Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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