Dougherty AYP pass rate will decline - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty AYP pass rate will decline

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The Dougherty County School System expects 15 schools to meet Annual Yearly Progress standards, five fewer than last year.

The School System received preliminary information from the state but is still waiting on official results.

Summer classes and remediation will also be factored in before the final results are included on the state's report card in September. The system is estimating by that time another four to seven schools could also make AYP.

The state expects to release the official results Monday afternoon, so right now the school system isn't releasing which 11 of the 26 schools they believe didn't make AYP. They think when the state information is released something may change.

While fewer Dougherty County Schools may have made Annual Yearly Progress this year, school officials say the community shouldn't look at it as having failing schools.

"We need to make some definite improvements across the state of Georgia in mathematics and then of course with graduation rates we need to work hard on keeping those ninth graders in school," said Test Coordinator Renee Bridges

School officials explained, the community may not realize the graduation rate doesn't just include students who cross the stage in cap and gown.

"It actually starts in the ninth grade and we're looking at drop outs from the ninth, tenth, eleventh, as well as twelfth over a four year period," Bridges said.

In fact students who jump from school to school and withdraw, even if they score well, aren't counted, but a student who leaves in ninth grade is.

"Unless we follow that student and find out where that student is located and find out if he or she is still in school, that's going to impact our graduation rate," said Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree.

CRCT Math Standards this year increased more than eight percent, as well as the graduation rate which jumped five percentage points to 80 percent. What helped was more than 88% of schools that met second indicators including attendance. The system is working on improving math instruction.

"We have the Math Science partnership grant and that grant is being used to help prepare teachers so they have the skills and the content knowledge to be able to deliver the new Georgia Performance Standards," said Curriculum Director Diane Daniels.

In the past the system has struggled with specific student subgroups and that's happened again, but administrators say that's why they'll be looking to address specific areas of need.> 

Murfree believes the validity of this years CRCT's was severely compromised. He believe scores were lower because students felt anxiety not having their teacher in the classroom during the exam, and because parents encouraged their students not to erase on the test.

Last year the Dougherty County School Systems graduation rate was at 75.4% just above the state average of 75%. This year that rate jumped up to 80%. So far school officials expect Westover High School to exceed the new minimum rate on the first round.


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