BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Both local school systems have made many gains in student achievement, but also experienced a few losses, according to recently released state test results.
The Tennessee Department of Education announced system-by-system results on student performance on the 2012 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and End of Course (EOC) exams on Thursday.
Overall, student performance improved significantly in school districts across the state, according to the release by Director of Communications Kelli Gauthier.
Nearly all of the state's 136 districts saw proficiency levels increase, and two-thirds improved in every subject of the grades 3-8 TCAP Achievement tests, the release noted.
This held true for both local districts, which had positive gains in math, reading, science and social studies.
In Greeneville's system, the percentage of students obtaining either a "proficient" or "advanced" score was:
* 56.3 percent in math, representing 6.9 percent growth;
* 61.7 percent in reading, with 4.2 percent growth;
* 75.5 percent in science, with 8.6 percent growth; and,
* 89.7 percent in social studies, with 7.0 percent growth.
Although Greene County's growth was not as great as Greeneville's, the change was still positive.
The percentage of students in the county system obtaining either a "proficient" or "advanced" score was:
* 41.8 percent in math, with 3.9 percent growth;
* 45.1 percent in reading, with 2.9 percent growth;
* 56.9 percent in science, with 1.5 percent growth; and,
* 82.2 percent in social studies, with 0.3 percent growth.
In comparison, all districts across Tennessee averaged 47.3 percent in math, 49.9 percent in reading, 60.5 percent in science, and 82.9 percent in social studies.
END OF COURSE
The state also released system averages for EOC exam results for high school students, which indicated both gains and losses for both systems.
The percentage of Greeneville students scoring "proficient" or "advanced" included:
* 69.5 percent in Algebra I, representing 1.8 percent growth;
* 42.9 percent in Algebra II, with 8.7 percent growth;
* 75.3 percent in Biology, with 9.6 percent growth;
* 72.6 percent in English I, with a 6.3 percent loss;
* 74.8 percent in English II, with 10 percent growth; and,
* 97.5 percent in U.S. History, with 2.5 percent loss.
The percentage of Greene County students scoring "proficient" or "advanced" included:
* 59.7 percent in Algebra I, representing a 2.7 percent loss;
* 45.5 percent in Algebra II, with 3.2 percent growth;
* 58.8 percent in Biology, with a 2.9 percent loss;
* 70.8 percent in English I, with 4.7 percent growth;
* 61.2 percent in English II, with 3.1 percent growth; and,
* 98 percent in U.S. History, with a 0.6 percent loss.
The state averages, in comparison, were 55.4 percent in Algebra I, 33.3 percent in Algebra II, 55.8 percent in Biology, 66.1 percent in English I, 60.7 percent in English II, and 95.3 percent in U.S. History.
KIRK 'VERY PLEASED'
In a news release Thursday afternoon following the state's release of the data, Greene County Director of Schools Dr. Vicki Kirk said the system is proud of the past year's achievements and progress.
"We are very pleased to have shown growth in every TCAP achievement category, and three of six End-of-Course categories: English I, English II and Algebra II," Kirk said in the release.
"I am extremely proud of our student achievement because we have achieved or exceeded our target scores and shown growth in most categories," she continued.
"While we still have much work to do, the great number of bright spots in performance across Greene County demonstrates that we are headed in the right direction.
"As we continue to focus and improve on our practice, we will see more and more growth," she said.
Kirk also congratulated the system's students and teachers, saying that they worked diligently to obtain such scores.
Further details and analysis of the student achievement data released by the state will be presented at the Greene County Board of Education's August meeting, Kirk said.
The board does not meet in July.
STROUD IS 'THRILLED'
The Greeneville Board of Education, however, did meet on Thursday.
In an interview prior to the meeting, Greeneville Director of Schools Dr. Linda Stroud praised the system's achievements.
"We're thrilled with our results," Stroud said. "They're outstanding across the board."
"Overall, our achievement is outstanding," she continued. "We're just extremely proud of our teachers and all the hard work that they've done, as always."
The data are important, Stroud explained, because they indicate how students are mastering the curriculum and instruction.
She also noted that these achievements are strong indications of the support of parents and the community.
During Thursday's meeting, Suzanne Bryant, Greeneville's assistant director of schools, presented comparisons between 13 school systems' percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced. This data included both Greeneville and Greene County.
Other systems included Lenoir City, Hawkins County, Hamblen County, Sullivan County, Washington County, Alcoa, Bristol, Kingsport, Oak Ridge, Johnson City and Maryville.
"Our kids have done very well in comparison," Bryant said.
Greeneville students "have made good gains" in all categories," she said.
She attributed the positive results to the work of teachers and other school district staff.
"Our teachers have worked very, very hard this year with all the changes, and we're very proud of them."
According to her analysis of the data ranking the 13 systems:
* In TCAP reading, Greeneville ranked 4th, and Greene County ranked 12th;
* In TCAP math, Greeneville ranked 6th, and Greene County ranked 13th;
* In TCAP science, Greeneville ranked 4th, and Greene County ranked 13th;
* In TCAP social studies, Greeneville ranked 5th, and Greene County ranked 13th;
* In EOC English II, Greeneville ranked 5th, and Greene County ranked 11th;
* In EOC Algebra I, Greeneville ranked 4th, and Greene County ranked 9th; and
* In EOC Biology, Greeneville ranked 4th, and Greene County ranked 11th.
Bryant only presented the rankings for the three EOCs that the state considers for accountability.
However, Kirk noted in her release that Greene County did particularly well in the other three subjects tested by EOCs, including English I, U.S. History, and Algebra II, in which she said Greene County was 5th in the region.
The district-by-district results follow unprecedented gains on the statewide level, where student scores saw the largest growth in TCAP history as Tennessee continued to implement its First to the Top Education reforms.
"The widespread improvement shows that efforts to raise student outcomes are working in many districts," said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.
"Our students, teachers and administrators worked incredibly hard, and we are gratified that so many districts were able to significantly grow results."