Test scores rising in Berryville schools

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Berryville Schools Superintendent Michael Cox reports that he has some good news for returning students, staff and parents as the new semester begins.

"We've had a major improvement in our test scores, and I don't think I've ever been as excited starting school as I am now," he said Friday.

Cox reported that state Benchmark scores in literacy and math for grades four, six and eight have gone up significantly, showing a 29 percent improvement over the same period last year.

In the general school population, which does not include special education, lower socio-economic students and Hispanic students, Cox said, scores are rising at a good pace.

However, he said, "All of our scores have increased, even the combined population" (all the students in the district, though those figures were not yet available.)

"What the scores mean is the students are better prepared for life. There were no (or few) multiple choice questions in these tests," Cox said. "You have to know and be able to do the things that are required. You have to think and solve problems and you have to be able to write," he said.

Cox said the school is meeting the federal "No Child Left Behind" guidelines.

Here are the scores:

In the 2002-2003 school year, fourth grade Reading and Literacy scores showed 69 percent were making the grade. This year, fourth grade Reading and Literacy hit the 85 percentile, for a 16 percent improvement over last year. Fourth grade mathematics scores rose by 8 percent.

Sixth grade Reading and Literacy was 30 percent last year and 59 percent this year, an improvement of 25 percent.

Eighth grade Reading and Literacy was 70 percent last year, and this year it rose to the 82 percentile, for an improvement of 12 percent.

Eighth grade mathematics jumped from 21 percent last year to 50 percent this year, an improvement of 29 percent.

Even though that means only half the students tested in reading passed, "It shows we are on the right track," Cox said.

In separate scoring, the 11th grade literacy tests jumped from 33 percent passing last year to 70 percent passing this year, a 37 percent increase.

In 11th grade Algebra I, Cox said, the numbers went from 44 percent passing last year to 51 percent this year. He noted that was the same eighth grade group that only scored 21 percent three years ago.

He also noted that every student in the 8th grade

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