Revisions make it hard to gauge Metro schools' report card

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 11:49am
Staff Reports

When state K-12 test scores were released Tuesday, revisions to the method of calculating scores and the scale used to determine letter grades made it difficult to gauge the progress of Metro students.

But like previous years, some assessments were clear: Metro Nashville Public Schools continue to trail the rest of Tennessee and the nation in math and language skills, the annual state Report Card showed.

There were some improvements in high schools scores, but somewhat troubling were elementary and middle school marks that showed a drop in reading and language proficiency — from a below-proficient 12 percent in 2008 to 14 percent this year. The drop is more noticeable among African-American students (14 to 17 percent), who make up more than half on MNPS enrollment.

View the Report Card here for complete details.

Metro schools received an overall ‘D’ grade, but with the scale used to determine grades being “dramatically revised,” the Department of Education’s Tim Webb says that could mean scores considered to be an “A” in years past may now be a “B” or “C."

MNPS did surpass its goals on graduation rates and daily enrollment, the report card shows.

Still, the revisions keep the district working even harder to improve on the federal No Child Left Behind benchmarks that have called improved test scores. According to Webb, the state Education Commissioner, additional new standards required by the Tennessee Diploma Project will be in place next year.

“Because we have been on an aggressive path of improvement with the Tennessee Diploma Project, it was necessary to utilize this transition year to change our calculation methods and more accurately demonstrate student progress in an effort to pursue higher standards,” Webb said.

In 2007, the Tennessee Department of Education launched the Tennessee Diploma Project with more rigorous curriculum and graduation requirements for school districts in the state. For more information on the TDP, click here.

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