High schools perform poorly on tests

Published 1:19 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008

By Staff
School board OKs
over-budget bids
for new classrooms
Staff Writer
The only reasons two of the three high schools in the county met state educational growth standards this year were nonacademic factors like attendance and drop-out rates, Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss told the Beaufort County Board of Education on Monday.
State end-of-course tests measure how much pupils retained from certain key academic classes. Benchmarks are set for how many individual pupils must do better academically than in previous years.
Of the tests that had data from last year for comparison, Northside High School saw improvement in three subjects and deterioration in four. Southside High School saw improvement in four subjects, held even in geometry and fell off in two subjects. Washington High School improved in three subjects, held even in one subject and lost ground in three subjects.
Test scores for courses that ended during the winter were low, but not as lousy as those from the spring, Moss said.
He said it is a trend he had heard about from schools across the state.
Overall, more than 70 percent of Northside High School students who were tested were proficient in only one of nine subjects tested: higher-level algebra.
Washington High School students were above 70 percent proficient in physics, chemistry and higher-level algebra.
Southside students who were tested were more than 70 percent proficient in higher-level algebra, basic English, civics and geometry.
The board also heard about already reported No Child Left Behind testing scores. Of 13 schools in the county, seven met Annual Yearly Progress standards for improvement last year.
Board member Theresa Banks asked Moss what the test results for S.W. Snowden Elementary School meant.
The board decided to put extra attention into reviewing the state-mandated School Improvement Plans to be developed by high-school principals this year. High-school principals will present their plans to principals of other schools this year.
The board also allocated money from its capital-projects contingency and accepted bids for work on classroom expansions at two elementary schools.
The additions at Eastern and John Cotten Tayloe elementary schools will be sheet-metal buildings because staff thinks they will provide good value and match the expected lifetimes of the existing buildings.
Low bids for the classrooms at Eastern totaled $287,693.82. The board allocated an extra $31,000 for construction-related expenses such as installation of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and buying paint, door hardware and paying for required building permits.
Low bids for Tayloe totaled $311,585.76. The board allocated an extra $31,000 for the same purposes as at Eastern.