JCPS test scores show small regression in reading and math, but - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS test scores show small regression in reading and math, but improvements among middle school students

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Just like every student comes home with a report card, so too does the school district your son or daughter attends. 

JCPS spends days mulling over each and every number. Any shift can be a big deal.

"We need to continue to trend upwards, which did not happen this year," said Interim Superintendent Marty Pollio.

Only 44.5 percent of students scored proficient in reading and math, a decrease from last year and well below the state average. 

College and career readiness also took a hit. The achievement gap continues to widen among minorities. 

"The drop is a little greater for African-American students, so we did see a slight expansion in that gap number, which is the wrong way." Pollio said.

The problems within the largest school district in Kentucky are top of mind for the state's Education Commissioner, Stephen Pruitt. 

"My hope is that they're going to have a real hard conversation about, 'Why did our numbers go down? What did we do differently? Are we really paying attention to instruction or are we simply buying more books for us to practice tests?'" Pruitt said.

Pollio wants to assure Pruitt, parents and students that there's a detailed plan already in well place. The biggest part of it is a $1 million investment into something called a universal screener, which is basically three tests throughout the year that give teachers and parents a better idea of how a student is doing.

"It gives us the ability for us to track them and make sure that they're successful when they move to the next grade and where they're supposed to be reading-and math-wise," Pruitt said.

If help is needed, Pollio said a student will get it quicker.

There are bright spots in the data too. Middle schools are above the state average in reading and writing. Forty schools increased achievement scores. Four-and five-year graduation rates increased. 

"The trend needs to be moving forward, so any small gain is moving that way," Pollio said.

All of the stats are from the the Unbridled Learning accountability system, and this is one of the last years for it. Individual school scores and labels weren't released this year.

"I mean what schools do, and the districts do, is important, but we need to get back to a place of, 'Are our kids learning or not?'" Pruitt said.

He hopes the new testing system expected in the 2018-19 year will do that while also helping students aim for bigger and better.

"We're all ready to take it on and tackle that challenge," Pollio said.

For a look at all numbers for all Kentucky districts, click here.

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