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Public school students showing high levels of academic growth

Curriculum supervisors Marsha Talley (left) and Sarai Pierce addressed the Sequatchie County Board of Education at the October meeting to give the schools' TVAAS scores to the board.

Oct. 4, 2017 – Sequatchie County Schools are scoring high on student growth, according to curriculum supervisors who reported TVAAS (Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System) results at the Oct. 2 Board of Education meeting.

Our students continue to make growth,” said Marsha Talley, curriculum supervisor for the high school. On a scale of 1-5, both the middle school and the high school received mostly fives, with only “numeracy” – mathematics – scoring low.

Sequatchie County High School gained a school-wide composite of 5, literacy 5, numeracy 2, literacy and numeracy 5, science 5, social studies 5,” Talley said. “We are excited to report that our students excelled in their EOC tests on algebra I/II, biology I, chemistry, and U.S. history, all of which are at or above the state average.”

The TVAAS quantifies a student's progress in specific academic areas. A “3” means the student made the amount of progress he or she was expected to make. Anything above a 3 means they are making greater progress than expected. Anything below a 3 means they are not progressing as well as expected.

During the 2016-17 school year, both the high school and the middle school received fives (5) in literacy, science, social studies, and composite score. They both received a two (2) in numeracy.

We are aware of our need as far as numeracy goes,” Talley said, “and we are working very, very hard to improve, especially in geometry.”

We are significantly ahead of the state in three or four areas,” Director of Schools Pete Swafford commented. “In achievement, we're average, but we are growing quickly. And we're working really hard to make sure our youngest students are ready for school.”

Graduating seniors also are performing very well on their ACT, which is used to determine admission by most colleges and universities. Swafford pointed out that the state ACT average is 19.8, while Sequatchie County students averaged 20.1 this year.

Sarai Pierce, curriculum supervisor for pre-K through grade 8, pointed out that because of the statewide testing debacle last year that resulted in termination of the state's contract with the TNReady test providers, there has been a delay in getting out the 2016-17 standardized test scores.

She said the state has notified her that scores for the middle school and Griffith Elementary are expected to be released “mid-fall,” she said.

The Tennessee Department of Education further advised, “As a reminder, we will see a proficiency drop as we reset the baseline for grades 3-8 this year. Please remind your educators, students, and families that this does not mean that our students are going backward or learning any less. It just means that we have a more accurate picture of what they know...”

Local schools are phasing online testing back in, as well, as the state begins working with a new test supplier.

All our students are working on learning the online platform,” Pierce said, “and grades 9-12 will use that this year. Next year, the middle school will also go online.”

We are very happy with the progress that we're making, but not satisfied,” Swafford remarked.

In other business, the Sequatchie County Board of Education:

All votes were unanimous. Only board member Linda Tate was absent, due to health issues.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., in the Central Office on Cordell Drive, Dunlap. Meetings are open to the public.