All of Madison County’s five elementary schools showed improvement on fifth grade CRCT scores in 2011 compared to 2010.
Comer Elementary School had the lowest failure rate in reading and in English-Language Arts (ELA) among the five schools, with 1.4 percent of fifth graders falling short of expected standards in reading, 2.9 percent in ELA and 7.1 percent in social studies.
Four of the five elementary schools exceeded the state average in reading and ELA, with Danielsville Elementary having a failure rate in reading at 10.2 percent and in ELA at 8.0. The state average was 9.5 percent in reading and 7.0 in ELA.
Hull-Sanford Elementary School had the lowest failure rate in math, with 2.9 percent of fifth graders falling short of expected standards. Three of the five elementary schools — Hull, Ila and Comer — were better than the state average in math, with Colbert and Danielsville below the state average. However, Danielsville showed the greatest improvement in any subject area between 2010-2011, lowering its fifth grade failure rate in math by 21 percentage points, from 37.0 to 15.9 percent.
Ila Elementary had the lowest failure rate in science, with 3.3 percent of fifth graders falling short of expected standards. All five elementary schools were better on the CRCT in science than the state average. Likewise, all five elementary schools were better than the state average in social studies.
At the eighth grade level, Madison County Middle School was better than the state average on four of five subjects, including reading, ELA, science and social studies. MCMS was strongest in social studies, with 12.8 percent of test takers failing to meet expected standards, compared to the state average of 27.5 percent. The school fell short of the state average in math, with 25.3 percent of eighth graders failing that portion of the test, compared to 22.3 percent statewide.
Madison County’s K-5 curriculum director Jane Fitzpatrick said she’s pleased with the improvements in elementary school test scores.
“We are pleased to note the increase in the number of students who are mastering the grade level content in the five core subject as indicated on the CRCT,” said Fitzpatrick. “We applaud the hard work of our teachers, students, and parents; indeed it is a team effort to support the academic growth of our students.”
Fitzpatrick said CRCT scores help school leaders identify problem areas “so that the student can be provided with an appropriate intervention that specifically addresses the need through the RTI (Response to Intervention) process.”
“This is analogous to parents taking action as quickly as possible when realizing their child is sick,” said Fitzpatrick. “The child is taken to a doctor who provides a medication. Parents keep a close eye on the child to make sure the medicine is working and the child is returning to good health.”
Fitzpatrick said math remains a point of concern for educators.
“During the 2010-2011 school year, we added several new math programs to our instructional program, including one with a component that students can access at home any time of day or night (VMath-Live),” said Fitzpatrick.
The curriculum director said math teachers also received additional training this summer.
“A month ago, 40 of our math teachers from grades three through six attended a week-long math training; the instructor provided an array of instructional strategies and targeted a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts for the teachers,” she said.
Fitzpatrick said reading is also a primary focus of school staff.
“Reading instruction remains central to all other learning,” said Fitzpatrick. “In spring 2011, reading benchmark assessments were reviewed and updated, as were curriculum maps. An in-depth review of the reading instructional program is planned in FY’12 for students with disabilities to determine what needs exist.”
Fitzpatrick said the schools are also planning to expand “gifted” services.
“We also have 47 teachers who are currently enrolled in a gifted endorsement program of study,” said Fitzpatrick. “Not only will this ‘grow’ our gifted program and expand the service options, it will equip teachers with a variety of knowledge/skills that can be used with all students, specifically differentiated instruction strategies.”