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Gwinnett schools receive mixed results in latest College and Career Ready results

Performances by Gwinnett elementary and high schools are down, while middle schools are up, the state Department of Education said Monday.

State School Superintendent John Barge announced the latest results of the College and Career Ready Performance Index, a complex statewide accountability system, that the DOE introduced in 2012.

It measures schools and school districts on a 100-point scale, to help parents and the public better understand how schools are performing. Ten bonus points are eligible for districts that have students enroll in high-level academic courses, strong performance by special education students, students learning English and poor students.

The previous system was a pass-fail comprehensive system called Adequate Yearly Progress, which was part of the No Child Left Behind legislation.

The formula for the CCRPI had several changes since its previous installment.

Among the changes were how students fared on end-of-course and standardized tests called academic achievement, which now accounts for up to 60 points, while progress, which is determined by students moving to a higher performance level, is worth up to 25 points. Closing the gap in academic performance between groups of students accounts for up to 15 points.

At a press conference on Monday, Barge said the CCRPI is designed to give school districts a road map or planning guide to better plan for future school improvement.

“Many people have worked hard to make sure the CCRPI provides the most accurate, effective measure possible of the work schools are doing to prepare students for success,” Barge said. “This is an index that is both comprehensive and simple to understand, and it is an important component of our efforts to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for whatever they choose to do, whether that be going to college, joining the military, or immediately beginning a career.”

Gwinnett’s elementary schools scored an 85.1, while middle schools scored a 74.9 and high schools 86.2. Put another way, 78 percent of elementary schools, 90 percent of middle and 78 percent of high schools were at or above expectations. In the 2012 installment, Gwinnett’s elementary schools were scored at 78.3, middle schools were 85.8 and high schools were 75.1.

The top Gwinnett school was Partee Elementary in Snellville with a 98. Partee led a group of 23 elementary schools that scored 90 or above, while that was the case for nine middle schools, led by Twin Rivers Middle in Buford at 95.8. The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology had the highest score among high schools at 95.8.

Overall, Gwinnett County Public Schools received an 82.8 score, while Buford City Schools scored an 87.3.

At Partee, Principal LaVern Rush said last year was the third year of a departmentalized fifth grade teaching, and second year in fourth grade, to have one teacher focus on math, science and social studies, while another taught literacy.

“We chose people that were exceptional in the area they were teaching, and had a proven track record,” she said.

The school also offered extended learning opportunities, such as a Saturday writing program, and after-school sessions in the follow.

“The results came through,” she said.

The school also has a data room where teachers and administrators track progress and the type of intervention each student receives.

“I think we look carefully about where our students are moving and if they’re moving, I think that’s key,” Rush said. “The bottom line is we just want students to make progress.”

Jonathan Patterson, GCPS’ associate superintendent for curriculum and instructional support, said the CCRPI highlights a need for progress and growth.

The district, by June 15, will develop training plans to help teachers and principals learn more about how the formula works and how to incorporate it in future local school improvement plans.

While not perfect, Patterson said the district supports the state’s efforts and believes this measuring tool is headed in the right direction.

The results are based on the 2012-13 school year, and the release included a new score for the 2011-12 school year with several changes, such as schools receiving one composite score, and “exceeding the bar” points now included in district scores.

Statewide, Georgia’s elementary schools saw a one-year increase in scores from 74.9 to 78.5, middle schools increased from 73.9 to 75, while high schools dropped from 73 to 72.

Patterson said gap closure continues to be a challenge for the district.

“As students get older, the gaps can be harder to really close, not that it’s impossible to do so, but it becomes more difficult in some cases,” Patterson said. “The earlier the age that we can have an impact with quality of instruction, how familiar we are with teachers and leaders, how familiar with are with the instrument; we’re still at the infancy of CCRPI and understanding the metrics and how things are calculated.”