PCS gets graded by state board of education

PELHAM – Pelham City Schools, along with other public school systems in the state, received its letter grade on Thursday, Feb. 1, from the Alabama State Department of Education, which graded school systems based on everything from standardized test scores and graduations and absenteeism rates.

PCS Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield said school systems received the information prior to Feb. 1, but were not allowed to share the data until after the state Department of Education released the information.

The state Department of Education made the scores public at 10 a.m. on Feb. 1, and PCS received an overall letter grade of B, or 88. The school system’s overall grade was determined based on graduation rate, academic growth, academic achievement, college and career readiness and chronic absenteeism for the 2016-2107 school year.

PCS earned a 95.40 on graduation rate, a 95.50 on academic growth, which measures students who show improvement in reading and math from one year to the next, a 66.14 on academic achievement, which is based on the percentage of students proficient in reading and math, an 85 on college and career readiness and a 10.78 on chronic absenteeism.

All of PCS’ overall scores are better than the state average in each category.

At a school board meeting on Monday, Jan. 29, Coefield and Federal Programs and Testing Coordinator Susan Hyatt said there are some flaws in the way schools are graded. They urged teachers and parents to be cognizant of the discrepancies present in the data.

Coefield said he understands there needs to be a way to assess how well schools and school systems are performing, but there still needs to be some adjustments to how it is done.

Hyatt pointed out that excused absences are included in the school system’s chronic absenteeism rate. So, if a student has an extended hospital stay, their absences are still included in the school system’s chronic absenteeism rate.

Each Pelham school also received a letter grade. The scores for each school were determined differently based on grade level. For the district’s two elementary schools, grades were based heavily on the ACT Aspire. Alabama students no longer take the ACT Aspire test. The state Board of Education decided last year to switch to a different test.

Pelham Oaks earned an overall score of 85, or B. The school earned a 71.50 on academic achievement, a 94.94 on academic growth, both of which are based on the ACT Aspire, and a 9.40 on chronic absenteeism.

Pelham Ridge earned an overall score of 84, or B. The school earned a 72.56 on academic achievement, a 91.60 on academic growth and a 7.33 on chronic absenteeism.

The middle school earned an overall grade of 81, or B. The school earned a 66.42 on academic achievement, a 91.05 on academic growth and a 10.42 on chronic absenteeism.

Pelham High School earned an overall grade of 85, or B. The school earned a 49.28 on academic achievement, a 100 on academic growth, a 95.40 for its graduation rate, a 85 for college and career readiness and a 15.03 for chronic absenteeism.