State's assessment of schools completed

By Megan R. Harrell
STAR STAFF
mharrell@starhq.com

   Thursday afternoon the Tennessee Department of Education released the results of the value-added assessment of every school system in the state. The statistical analysis gives insight into the yearly academic gains made by both city and county school students grades 4-8.
   Data was gathered over three years to obtain the most accurate results possible. The process is referred to as a cumulative gain. The 2002 cumulative gain shows the results from 2000, 2001, and 2002.
   The Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) compares the gains students are making within the statewide cumulative gain. Students grades 4-8 are tested annually in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
   The value-added assessment showed that Elizabethton City Schools exceed state averages by at least 5.5 percent in all subjects. The most significant gain was in Social Studies, where city schools were 20.8 percent above the state norm percent cumulative gain average.
   The Carter County School System did not fair as well as city schools in the assessment. Though it has made significant gains in several areas, it still fell below the state normal gain in all subjects except reading, where it met the state average.
   "We are certainly pleased that we are making gains in all subjects and we are excited to find that our scores in reading are the same as the state average, because reading is an important part of our curriculum," Superintendent of County Schools, Dallas Williams said. "We are disappointed that other subjects are not up to the state averages, but we will continue to work to get them up to where they need to be. As long as we continue to move up we are okay."
   Collectively the state of Tennessee continues to move up in cumulative gain as well. The 2002 three-year statewide cumulative gain exceeded national averages in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. Language arts was the only subject that fell below the national average.
   "The state as a whole is once again holding its own," Dr. Benjamin Brown, the state's Executive Director of Evaluation and Assessment said. "This year the statewide cumulative scores are nearer or exceed the national norm in every subject area."
   The value-added assessment results are available to the public through the Tennessee Department of Education's Web site at www.state.tn.us/education. The state Department of Education will release individual school and school system report cards later this fall.