Thursday, December 28, 2023

State Education Department Reports Scores For Oconee County Schools On Five Components Of Performance Index

***System Excels At Content Mastery, Readiness***

The Georgia Department of Education earlier this month released its College and Career Ready Performance Index showing that Oconee County Schools exceeded the state averages on four of the five components of the Index.

The Department of Education does not compute scores for school systems, but rather for individual schools in the system and for grade clusters, and Oconee County Schools had the top score in the state at the Elementary, Middle, and High school grade clusters on the Content Mastery component.

At the Elementary and Middle school cluster, the gains in the Content Mastery score from 2022 to 2023 were minor, but at the High school cluster the gain was more substantial.

Oconee County Schools had the best Content Mastery score in the state in 2022 as well at the Middle and High school clusters and had the second highest score at the Elementary school cluster.

Oconee County Schools ranked slightly lower in 2023 on the Readiness component and much lower on the other three components. The Elementary and Middle school clusters ranked 90th in the state in terms of the Closing Gaps component, and the Middle school cluster ranked 46th in the state on the Progress component.

On the Graduation Rate component, Oconee County’s two high schools ranked 10th in the state, down from eighth in the state in 2022.

Oconee County Schools announced the performance of its schools on the two components on which it scored highest–Content Mastery and Readiness–in its December Newsletter, which went out late in the day on Dec. 22.

The Georgia Department of Education released the raw data files for download with a news release on Dec. 14. It also activated a dashboard through which parents and other interested individuals can see the scores on all five components for individual schools in the state.

News Release

The Dec. 14 news release from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) noted that statewide the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores showed improvements in Content Mastery, with the highest component scores in Progress and Readiness.

Clips From OCS Announcements

Oconee County had little room to move in terms of Content Mastery, with scores of 98.1, 96.0, and 95.5 at the Elementary, Middle, and High school clusters respectively in 2022.

In 2023, those scores were 98.2, 96.4, and 98.1 at the Elementary, Middle, and High school clusters respectively.

Content Mastery addresses whether students are achieving at the level necessary to be prepared for the next grade, college, or career. It includes achievement scores in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, according to the GaDOE.

Oconee County had scores of 92.9, 87.1, and 98.3 (for Elementary, Middle, and High clusters respective) in Progress and 93.3, 91.5, and 89.5 for those same clusters respectively in Readiness.

Progress was not measured in 2022, and Readiness was measured, but not comparably, in 2022.

Progress addresses the question: how much growth are students demonstrating, according to the GaDOE. Progress measures how much growth students demonstrate in English language arts and mathematics and how well English learners are progressing towards English language proficiency.

Readiness addresses the question: are students participating in activities preparing them for and demonstrating readiness for the next level, college, or career?

Closing Gaps, Graduation Rates

The Dec. 14 news release noted that across the state scores were lower for Closing Gaps and Content Master than for other scores.

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For Oconee County Schools, Content Mastery produced the highest scores, but Closing Gaps resulted in the lowest scores: 64.8 (Elementary) and 65.3 (Middle). The High school score on this measure was 98.5.

The Elementary and Middle scores ranked 90th in the state on Closing Gaps, and the scores are close to those at the state level (66.7 for Elementary, 52.5 for Middle, and 67.5 for High). The state has 181 school districts, but only 179 were included in the released data file.

The Closing Gaps component sets the expectation that all students and all subgroups continue to make improvements, and once a certain threshold is attained, sustain high levels of achievement. As such, goals are based on continuous improvement, according to GADOE documents.

Graduation Rate, which is a component of the CCRPI only for high schools, addresses the question: are students graduating from high school with a regular high school diploma in four or five years? This component includes both the four and five year adjusted cohort graduation rates.

The adjusted cohort graduation rate is the number of students who graduate in the specified number of years (four or five) with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class.

Oconee County Schools scored 97.3 on this measure in 2023, which ranked 10th in the state, and 98.1 in 2022, which ranked eighth in the state.

Comparisons With Neighboring Districts

School districts and the areas they serve vary in many ways, and comparisons of scores on the CCRPI are impacted by those underlying differences.

Because people moving into Oconee County, where most of the residential growth is in the north, are likely to consider schools in Barrow, Jackson, and Clarke counties, I examined the scores of those three county systems and of Jefferson City Schools, inside Jackson County, as well as of Oconee County Schools.

Barrow County Schools had 14,882 students enrolled in the official report to the GADOE on Oct. 4 of 2022, Clarke County Schools had 12,340, Jackson County had 9,918, and Jefferson City Schools had 4,167.

The Oct. 4, 2022, enrollment at Oconee County Schools was 8,531.

Based on U.S. Census Bureau Data for 2022 for the four counties, Oconee County had the highest percentage of its residents who were 25 years old and older with a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher (53.5 percent), the highest median household income ($116,221), and the oldest population, with a Median Age of 41.2 years.

Barrow County had the lowest percentage of its residents who were 25 years old and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher (22.6 percent). The Median Household Income was lowest in Clarke County ($47,171), and the Median Age was lowest in Clarke County (29.3 years).

The percentage of residents of Georgia who were 25 years old and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2022 was 34.7, the Median Household Income was $72,837, and the Median Age was 37.6.

Oconee County is an exceptional county in the state in ways that clearly affect its school system, with educational level, household income, and even age greatly exceeding the state averages. (Only Forsyth County has a higher median income of $129,410.)

CCRPI Scores For Neighboring Systems

Only Jefferson City Schools has Content Mastery scores on the CCRPI close to those of Oconee County Schools among the four systems used for comparison.

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Clarke County Schools, among the five systems, had the lowest scores on Content Mastery.

In terms of the Progress component, Jefferson City Schools and Oconee County Schools have nearly overlapping scores, with Barrow County and Clarke County Schools scoring somewhat lower.

Oconee County Schools scored well on the Closing Gaps component only at the High School cluster. Clarke County Schools outperformed Oconee County Schools on this measure except at the High School cluster.

In terms of the Readiness component, Oconee County Schools and Jefferson City Schools again had largely overlapping scores.

Clarke and Barrow county systems scored considerably lower on this component.

Among the five systems, Oconee County had the highest Graduation Rate, followed by Jefferson City Schools, Jackson County Schools, Barrow County Schools, and then, Clarke County Schools, with a considerably lower score.

Oconee School Comparisons

Among Oconee County’s Primary and Elementary schools, Oconee County Primary School scored highest on Content Mastery and Progress.

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Dove Creek and High Shoals Elementary schools both had perfect scores on Closing Gaps. High Shoals Elementary has the highest score on Readiness.

Malcom Bridge Middle School has higher scores than Oconee County Middle School on Content Mastery, Progress, and Readiness. Oconee County Middle School scored better on Closing Gaps.

North Oconee High School has the higher score on Content Mastery, Readiness, and Graduation Rate, based on the combined four and five year adjusted figures for graduation.

GADOE earlier reported a graduation rate of 94.7 for Oconee County High School based on the adjusted four-year figure.

Oconee County High School has perfect scores on Progress and Closing Gaps.

Federal Every Student Succeeds Act

Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), each U.S. state is required to have a statewide accountability system that complies with federal requirements, providing information to users on how well schools are performing.

The CCRPI meets that requirement in Georgia, as well as satisfies requirements for school accountability in state law, according to the GaDOE news release of Dec. 14.

The raw data files that I used for these analysis are available HERE.

GaDOE also has created a dashboard that allows users to search for a specific school as well as a cluster within a school system.

Addendum 12/29/23: Content Mastery, Progress, Closing Gaps, and Readiness use the Milestones standardized tests for the scoring. The Graduation Rate is not based on the Milestones tests.

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