How did ACS score in state accountability report?

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – As a district, Alabaster City Schools topped the state average in every category measured in the recently released phase I Alabama Department of Education accountability report.

In Phase I of the report, the state Department of Education issued numerical scores for learning gains in reading and math, student achievement in reading and math, graduation rate and local indicator.

“Not all of what a school system does to move from good to great can be put into metrics. We like the metrics, because they show how we have grown over the years and how we are continuing to grow, but there are intangibles there,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said during a Jan. 12 interview. “The ACT Aspire is where all student data came from in our report card. That is one test. It’s a very rigorous test on rigorous standards. We want to prepare students for that test, but as a school system, we want to take care of the entire child. We want them to connect with school with an eye on what they want to do with the rest of their life, and we want to give them the keys to achieve those goals.

“On the ACT test, the actual ACT, our percentage testing at or above the benchmark level places us at No. 15 as a district in the state. Out of 137 school systems in the state, to be 15th means something,” Vickers added. “We want to improve that each year, and we know we are making strides.”

In Phase I of the accountability report, ACS scored 95 in the reading learning gains category, which is calculated based on individual students in grades four-eight who exhibit improvement in reading from one year to the next using multiple years of ACT Aspire data. The state average in the category was 88.

ACS scored 98 in the math learning gains category, which was calculated using the same format as the reading learning gains. The state average was 90 in the math learning gains category.

ACS also bested the state average in reading and math student achievement, which is calculated based on achievement levels on the ACT Aspire and Alabama Alternate Assessment for students in grades three through eight and 10.

ACS scored 63 and 74 in the reading and math student achievement categories, respectively, which was higher than the state numbers of 56 and 63 in those categories.

In the graduation rate category, ACS scored a 96, which was higher than the state average of 89. Graduation rate is tied to the number of high school students who graduate within four or five years of entering the ninth grade.

ACS scored a 100 in the local indicator category, which is tied to student outcomes in a category determined by the school system.

The final phase of the Alabama Department of Education accountability report will be released beginning in December. The final report will include additional information on college and career readiness, Alabama Plan 2020 program reviews and attendance, and will assign overall letter grades to all public school systems in the state.