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State scores show decrease at Renfroe Middle, improvement at Avondale Elementary

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State scores show decrease at Renfroe Middle, improvement at Avondale Elementary

Renfroe Middle School. Photo obtained via City Schools of Decatur
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This story has been updated. 

By Zoe Seiler, contributor

Every year, the Georgia Department of Education releases scores from the Milestones Assessment and the College and Career Readiness Performance Index. This year, schools across the DeKalb County School District increased their scores. 

Schools in the City of Decatur School District also increased scores but saw decreases in some areas as well. Renfroe Middle School saw a significant decrease in its closing gaps score. In 2018, the middle school’s closing gaps score was 76.6 and this year the score is 45.3.

Avondale Elementary, in DeKalb County public schools, made progress over last year.  

Atlanta Public Schools also increased its district overall score slightly from 73.4 to 74.1. Toomer Elementary increased its overall score as well from 51.9 to 58.6. 

Toomer Elementary also saw an increase in closing gaps scores. The 2018 closing gaps score was 9.4 and this year it is 33.3. Maynard H. Jackson High School also increased its closing gaps score from 50 to 100. King Middle School increased its closing gaps score from 70 to 100. 

The scores for Atlanta, DeKalb and Decatur schools appear at the end of this article.

Important Terms to Know

College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI): a tool for measuring student achievement which includes five components and an overall score. The CCRPI gives scores to the state, school districts and individual schools. 

Milestones Assessment: this assessment measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills in the state-adopted content standards of English Language Arts, mathematics, science and social studies. 

Students in third through eighth grade take an end-of-grade test in English Language Arts and mathematics. Fifth and eighth grade students are also tested in science and social studies. High school students take end-of-course assessments in 10 subjects designated by the state Board of Education. 

Content mastery: achievement scores in English language, mathematics, science and social studies based on student performance on the Milestones Assessment. 

Progress: utilizes student growth percentiles to measure progress in English language arts and mathematics. Another progress indicator measures English learners’ progress toward English language proficiency. 

Student growth percentiles: describes the amount of growth a student showed relative to academically-similar students. 

Closing gaps: measure extent to which all students and student subgroups are meeting annual achievement improvement targets. 

Subgroup: students are compared by demographics including race, economic status, disability status and English proficiency for students learning English. 

Readiness: elementary and middle school readiness indicators include literacy, student attendance and opportunities to take classes beyond the core, such as fine arts or a world language. High school indicators include literacy, student attendance, accelerated enrollment, pathway completion and demonstration of college and career readiness. 

Graduation rate: only high schools are evaluated on this area. This component emphasizes graduating in four years while placing value on continuing to work with and graduate students who need more time. 

The College and Career Ready Performance Index is a tool the state uses to measure how well schools, districts and the state are helping students achieve their goals and how well schools are preparing students for college or a career. For more information, check out the CCRPI family guide. 

The CCRPI score comes from five areas — content mastery, closing gaps, progress, readiness and graduation rates for high schools. CCRPI also includes an overall score. The highest score a school can receive in any area is 100. 

The state, school districts and individual schools all receive CCRPI scores. 

CCRPI was first introduced in 2012 as an alternative to yearly progress measurements under No Child Left Behind. In 2015, Georgia transitioned to Milestones assessments and revised CCRPI to expand upon its successes and address shortcomings, according to the Georgia Department of Education website. 

The Georgia Department of Education changed the way the CCRPI scores are calculated so the scores from 2018 and 2019 are directly comparable. The scores from prior years are not. The 2018 CCRPI was the first to use the new calculation.

City Schools of Decatur

The City Schools of Decatur district increased their overall score from 85 to 87.9 out of 100. The district saw increases at all levels, but also saw a decrease at the middle school level in the closing gaps score. 

“We are proud of the increase in the content mastery, closing gaps, and readiness scores at the elementary and high school levels. Both the middle school and high school have increased their progress scores. Although we are pleased with our progress, we recognize there are areas of improvement,” a news release from the district says. 

The closing gaps score measures how well students met achievement improvement targets set by the state Department of Education. 

The elementary schools and the high school in the district improved their closing gaps scores, while Renfroe Middle School saw a significant decrease in scores. In 2018, Renfroe Middle School’s closing gaps score was 76.6 and this year the score is 45.3. 

The district has not identified what caused Renfroe’s score to drop this year. Schools update their school improvement plans in January. 

“Between now and January, the school will collect data to evaluate what is working and not working. This will inform the school improvement plan update,” said CSD spokesperson Courtney Burnett.

Other schools in Decatur did see significant increases. The overall closing gaps scores for the elementary schools was 59.4 in 2018 and this year the score is 100. 

Clairemont Elementary and Fifth Avenue Elementary saw increases in all areas, especially in the closing gaps scores. Clairemont saw a 68.7 point increase and scored a perfect 100. Fifth Avenue raised its score to 98.5 compared to 59.4 in 2018. 

The schools were able to achieve this improvement through the use of professional learning communities “where teachers collaborated on reviewing standards, student achievement data and making instructional decisions based on the data they reviewed to improve teacher practice,” Burnett said. 

Most schools in the district increased their content mastery scores, while a couple showed slight decreases. All schools scored about 90 and above. 

The content mastery score is based on the Milestones Assessment. The assessment is a key component of the CCRPI, but the test is separate from the CCRPI. CCRPI does not replace the Milestones Assessment. 

The district scored significantly above the state elementary content mastery score of 67.6 with a score of 95.6. No elementary school fell below the state score in content mastery. 

Renfroe Middle School and Decatur High School also significantly scored above the respective state content mastery scores of 66.3 and 69.4. 

Some highlights of CSD’s scores include: 

– All subgroups increased scores in high school science

– The amount of students with disabilities reading at grade level improved in all grades tested  

– The number of black and economically disadvantaged students reading at grade level improved in the elementary schools and the high school. 

The progress component looks at student growth in cohorts, meaning students are compared by demographics including race and economic status, as well as disability status and proficiency in English. 

“Progress is how did our students perform on some different criteria, and the criteria here are student growth percentiles,” said Maggie Fehrman, executive director of schools at the City Schools of Decatur. 

The summary looks at students in smaller groups, comparing a student with students of their same race. For example, if a white student performed in a beginning level of math last year, the student would be compared to all white students in a beginning level of math next year. The students would be evaluated on how well they did. The growth measurement is then based on that, Fehrman said. 

Some schools in the district did not receive a progress score. Oakhurst and New Glenwood Elementary Schools scored zero in the progress area, but had too few students in each subgroup to provide new scores for this year. 

Winnona Park and Westchester Elementary Schools also had too few students to receive a progress score last year and neither school had an available score for this year.

“Since the Milestones Assessment is given to students in third through eighth grade, the lower elementary schools do not have growth or progress scores because it takes two years of data to generate the scores,” Burnett said. 

“If it says ‘too few students’ it means that there were less than 15 students in that category. The state only looks at subgroups with 15 or more students,” she added. 

Although the elementary schools’ overall progress scores remained in the 80s, Clairemont Elementary increased its progress score from 69.1 to 100. 

Fehrman said the elementary schools and the high school are doing well, and the middle school is an area where they did not meet expectations. The district will focus on how they can support the teachers and principals there. 

“I think we’re doing pretty good. I think Decatur does really well. I think we have growth and I’ll say, particularly [at] our middle school, we’re looking at what our middle school can do to improve their [growth],” she said. 

The schools in the City Schools of Decatur district will spend time over the summer looking at the data to look at trends, subgroup performance and how students are doing. The next step is to look at what teacher practices will help the schools improve results. The district will also compare this year’s data to last year to see if it was better or worse, why changes happened and what may have created those changes.

“We always are looking at how do we grow and improve our achievement, so that’s always the focus when we look at these,” Fehrman said. 

DeKalb County Schools 

The DeKalb County School District had significant increases as a district, said Linda Frazer, interim associate superintendent who oversees the district’s Office of Accountability. 

The district’s overall score increased 5.4 points from last year. In 2018, the district overall score was 70 and this year the overall score is 75.4. 

DeKalb’s overall score is half a point from the state’s overall score of 75.9. 

“We’re half a point away from being at the state’s level and there was a long time when that wasn’t quite where we were. So we’re not by any means saying that we’re satisfied with that but again, it reflects where we’ve come from, and where we’re going and that’s something I think every single district employee’s proud of,” said Trenton Arnold, regional superintendent for region two. 

Region two includes the school clusters in Druid Hills, Tucker and Lakeside. 

The district also saw improvements at each school level, including the Druid Hills and Tucker clusters.

“We also increased in each level so we have a CCRPI score for elementary, middle, and high and those all showed increases. And that was reflective of these two school clusters where we showed pretty much increases in most of the schools in the Druid Hills and the Tucker feeder patterns,” Frazer said. 

For example, Idlewood Elementary School had the second highest gains in their overall CCRPI score in the district. The school’s overall score in 2018 was 55.7, but it increased to 80.2 this year. 

The closing gaps area was a focus for the DeKalb County School District and most scores in Druid Hills and Tucker increased. 

Arnold said that each region looked at data from previous years to make recommendations towards each school. In region two, one thing they recognized is that the region has many of the identified subgroups represented. The region saw some variations in performance from previous years. 

The charge to the schools was to analyze the data, reach the targets set by the state for academic performance and individualized instruction, and address the needs of all students. The schools met that charge, Arnold said. 

“That’s why you see the gains as you’ve seen such as Fernbank because they had gone from having challenges with closing the gaps, to suddenly meeting almost all of it, almost getting a perfect score, and the kudos goes to the staff, the teaching staff, to the principal and to the support staff at the school,” Arnold said. 

Fernbank Elementary School significantly increased their closing gaps score. The school scored 95 this year compared to 31.7 last year. 

Idlewood Elementary School also showed a significant increase in their closing gaps score by scoring a perfect 100 this year compared to scoring zero last year. 

Idlewood is a diverse school with almost all subgroups represented in the school. As each group is tested, the scores are assigned a flag color to represent whether students met the growth target. 

“So, if you’re not meeting that 3% growth target for each of those subgroups then you don’t get the appropriate scores which are identified different flag colors,” Arnold said.

Avondale Elementary school also increased most of their scores. Their overall score improved to 73 from 67 last year. The school also increased its closing gaps score from 75 to 100. 

The improvement reflects an increase in the school’s CCRPI scores in recent years, according to a press release from the school.

“I’m very proud of the strides we’re making towards academic excellence,” said Dontae Andrews, Avondale’s principal. “This will provide the momentum needed to raise performance further to parallel neighboring schools and districts. I’m pleased with the determination and commitment of our faculty to pursue this upward trend in student learning.”

Druid Hills Middle School and Tucker Middle School also increased their closing gaps scores significantly. Druid Hills improved from 67.7 to 97.1 and Tucker increased from 60.3 to 85.3. 

Druid Hills High School also increased their closing gaps score from 34.9 to 56.1

While most schools improved in their closing gaps schools, Midvale Elementary saw a decrease from 65 in 2018 to 47.5 this year. 

All schools in the Druid Hills and Tucker clusters in DeKalb County also saw improvements in content mastery scores.

The state score for content mastery at the elementary level is 67.6. DeKalb County Schools’ overall elementary content mastery score is 58.5 but some elementary schools in Druid Hills and Tucker scored above the state content mastery score.

DeKalb County Schools did not meet the state content mastery scores at the elementary and middle school levels but surpassed the state score at the high school. 

The DeKalb County School District is also still analyzing data to determine their next steps. 

“In meetings with the regional superintendents and senior cabinet, superintendents already made the charge to not rest, to keep analyzing that data, and making sure that the instruction that we see in the classrooms meets the highest levels that our community expects,” Arnold said. 

Atlanta Public Schools scores

School NameOverallContent MasteryProgressClosing GapsReadinessGraduation Rate
201820192018201920182019201820192018201920182019
Atlanta Public Schools73.474.1
Elementary76.876.658.961.185.985.192.187.57676.7
Toomer51.958.641.241.967.775.79.433.372.172.7
Middle School72.872.253.557.180.579.787.577.677.477.6
King Middle School64.470.738.644.880.179.17010071.472.9
High School65.570.447.651.980.580.552.887.565.267.379.979.1
Maynard H. Jackson67.478.7515982.692.35010065.670.78384.9

City Schools of Decatur scores 

School NameOverallContent MasteryProgressClosing GapsReadinessGraduation Rate
201820192018201920182019201820192018201920182019
City Schools of Decatur8587.9
Elementary83.890.79295.682.681.459.410091.892.7
Clairemont68.794.1799469.110031.310086.188.5
Fifth Avenue83.390.290.294.68381.459.498.591.592.8
New Glenwood9695.596.795.70Too Few Students1001009291.7
Oakhurst98.298.41001000Too Few Students10010094.194.8
Westchester97.997.71001000N/A10010093.292.4
Winnona Park97.69499.492.60N/A10010093.291.6
Middle School
Renfroe Middle School82.577.791.389.871.872.876.645.392.292.2
High School
Decatur High School89.791.996.198.186.288.372.482.389.189.29695.5
*Note: The overall middle and high school scores are the same scores as Renfroe Middle School and Decatur High School as they are the only middle and high school in the city of Decatur.

DeKalb County Schools scores 

School NameOverallContent MasteryProgressClosing GapsReadinessGraduation Rate
201820192018201920182019201820192018201920182019
DeKalb County School District7075.4
Elementary71.97953.558.582.288.478.810076.277.4
North Druid Hills Cluster
Avondale677341.351.184.7807510068.673.2
Briar Vista7685.660.170.284.394.181.310081.483.1
Fernbank69.586.170.475.477.291.831.79582.885.3
Laurel Ridge83.684.78385.186.694.87559.185.985.6
McLendon80.975.75861.598.485.793.879.274.777.1
Tucker Cluster
Brockett75.980.362.966.887.810067.359.681.281.5
Idlewood55.780.24453.680.196.6010072.376.4
Livsey85.891.380.288.684.292.797.997.787.888
Midvale75.774.866.967.985.188.36547.580.781.8
Smoke Rise77.189.263.57677.510010010079.582.2
Museum School of Avondale Estates86.978.9
Elementary93.777.693.890.391.367.910057.192.890.7
Middle7481.381.38179.580.921.968.892.391.8
Middle School67.273.251.154.477.87960.589.577.779.2
Druid Hills75.1796367.584.27867.797.182.984.4
Tucker69.676.956.160.578.685.360.385.381.380.5
High School68.770.853.957.38381.561.376.367.368.976.174.9
Druid Hills7274.761.864.782.281.755.669.476.475.278.783.4
Tucker656853.554.677.477.634.956.166.471.381.880.4

State scores 

OverallContent MasteryProgressClosing GapsReadinessGraduation Rate
201820192018201920182019201820192018201920182019
State76.675.9
Elementary77.877.165.767.684.484.48573.879.181
Middle School76.272.16566.38180.377.55082.482.9
High School75.37766.969.48382.1708073.474.58282.6

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