Over the last two years, schools across the state and nation have battled the effects of interruptions brought forth by a global pandemic. Our teachers, administrators, and students have worked through many challenges during the last two years. With the state’s release of the 2021-2022 TCAP state achievement test results, Lauderdale County is showing consistent progress toward academic achievement goals.
Like many other rural school districts, Lauderdale County lags behind the overall state averages for achievement, but the rate of progress being measured in our county is quite remarkable. In the 21-22 school year, there were a total of 29 state assessments given in grades 2-12 across 4 subjects; Math, English/Language Arts (ELA), Science, and Social Studies. Lauderdale County showed achievement gains in 27 of the 29 tested areas.
“It is very exciting to see consistent gains across nearly all subjects and grade levels”, said Superintendent of Schools, Shawn Kimble. “We know like many other districts that we are not where we want to be in total achievement, but you don’t make this kind of progress unless everyone is working hard and doing something right. I am thankful for our hard-working educators and the students who give their best in the classroom.”
In English/Language Arts (ELA), the district had an overall average increase in achievement of 6% in grades 3-8 compared to the state’s 2021-22 rate of increase of 7%. Tennessee had an overall increase of 5% in Math achievement in grades 3-8 and Lauderdale County outpaced the state’s achievement gains of 8%.
Lauderdale’s achievement gains in Math gives the district the highest ranking of level 5 in the state’s value-added system for this one subject. Value added is a measurement of progress from one grade level to the next while achievement (TCAP) measures students against a standard for their particular grade and subject. The value-added system measures grade and subject level growth on a 1-5 effectiveness scale as indicated below:
Level 5 - Significant evidence that the school’s students made more growth than expected.
Level 4 - Moderate evidence that the school’s students made more growth than expected.
Level 3 - Evidence that the school’s students made growth as expected.
Level 2 - Moderate evidence that the school’s students made less growth than expected.
Level 1 - Significant evidence that the school’s students made less growth than expected.
Many schools in Lauderdale County showed significant growth in various grade levels and subjects. Halls Elementary and Ripley Elementary School were both designated as level 5 schools for progress across all subject areas. When looking at level 5 in both literacy and numeracy (math) combined, there were 3 schools that achieved a level 5 designation; Halls Elementary, Halls Junior High, and Ripley Elementary. There were a total of four schools that reached level 5 for value-added growth in the subject of math; Halls Elementary, Ripley Elementary, Ripley Middle, and Halls Junior High.
Although our two high schools did not show value-added gains above the expected levels in math or ELA, the district did show improvement in all but one area of high school achievement. Of the tested high school subjects, Lauderdale County showed achievement gains in English II, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Biology. Our high schools are implementing a new ELA curriculum this year and will be working toward the same in math after a state adjustment to high school math standards in 22-23.
Each school has been working hard to recover learning and move students to higher levels of achievement. This is evident in the focused work happening at summer learning camps, during tutoring sessions, and at school each day. “We are fortunate to have dedicated educators who work tirelessly to meet the needs of every student. I can assure you that all schools are committed to sustaining this progress and moving students even farther in the future”, said Kimble.
More achievement and growth details will be available in the future once all accountability designations are finalized and released by the Tennessee Department of Education.