When we see statistics that test scores in our schools improve, it's easy to celebrate them on the surface.
What sometimes gets lost in the shuffle is the work that it takes to improve collective test scores by even a percentage point.
Recently, Blair Community Schools was classified as a “4” on its Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow (AQuESTT) evaluation. The yearly AQuESTT evaluation measures a district's progress of student achievement and growth, educational opportunities and access and assessment proficiency.
Just 10% of schools received a “4” classification this year.
Dr. Danielle Ladwig, BCS Director of Learning, said the score, was in part, due to increased NSCAP and ACT scores in the district. Those scores were made possible by increased support systems for students and a focus on increased learning in math, science and reading. These supports were put in place to improve student proficiency and reach a level of proficiency much higher than the state average.
To see those efforts pay off through standardized test scores requires applause to staff, students and administration for each buying into the new steps in place at the district.
Administration and staff spend many hours outside of normal class times to identify, plan and execute measures to improve education and emotional atmospheres in the classroom.
Students, too, have to be willing to adjust to these new features. Planning and implementation is only effective if students understand why its being done and if they show a willingness to cooperate. Seeing the achievements of the district recently shows that they trust the teachers and are willing to put in the work necessary.
Another part of the improvement of test scores that needs to be celebrated is how students and staff have rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic changed education forever and the first year or so of it put severe roadblocks in place for success. Understandably, test scores dropped amid the pandemic but marks in both the NSCAP and ACT have improved over the last two years.
This shows that students and staff didn't settle for the new normal and made it a point to improve with the worst of the pandemic and its limitations out of the way.
BCS is on the right path and there's more behind closed doors we don't see being done to not only continue this success, but improve on it as well.
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