• 50°
franklin county times

Guest column – ACT Aspire results are good news for RCS

After reviewing the recently-released results from the Spring 2017 administration of the ACT Aspire for Russellville City Schools, I couldn’t be prouder of the tremendous gains made across all subject areas and grade levels.

The purpose of the ACT Aspire is to measure proficiency in the subject areas of reading, math and science from third through eighth grades and reading, math, science, English and writing in 10th grade in an effort to chart students’ college readiness throughout their school careers.

The results for RCS showed overall gains in 18 of 23 subject areas system-wide, which is very strong. At Russellville Elementary School, growth was seen in six of the nine areas tested (third- and fifth-grade reading, third- and fifth-grade math and third- and fourth-grade science). At Russellville Middle School, growth was seen in seven of the nine areas tested (sixth- and eighth-grade reading; sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math; and sixth- and eighth-grade science), with a strong 20 percent gain in sixth-grade math from 42 percent in 2016 to 62 percent in 2017.

At Russellville High School, gains were seen in all five subject areas tested (10th-grade English, reading, math, science and writing), with an amazing 34 percent gain in writing from 16 percent in 2016 to 50 percent in 2017.

I am so proud of our students and our teachers for their hard work that resulted in so much growth over the past year. These numbers show that we are making gains, and our students are learning – truly learning – things that are going to help them throughout their school careers and beyond that.

When a group collectively scores 16 percent proficiency in writing and the following year earns a 50 percent proficiency, that’s tremendous. The same can be said for all the gains we saw. Any growth is positive, so we have a lot to be thankful for with these results.

I also believe it’s important to note: looking at this year’s data and comparing it to the system’s data from the previous year is the best way to determine where the system currently stands, as opposed to comparing current results with other systems’ results.

It’s so tempting when scores like this come in to immediately try to compare our scores with the scores of other school systems around us, to see where we stand. But the problem with that is the fact that one set of results doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s only part of the picture. It isn’t an accurate way to gauge the type of learning taking place in that system.

For instance, one system’s results could be several points higher than ours – which, on the face of it, looks like their school, system and/or teachers are performing better than ours.

However, if you look at the past few years of results, that school system could have had the exact same numbers for a few years without showing any type of growth.

Our scores are indicative of not only student growth. The growth we are discussing is not among the same students but is actually from comparing last year’s group to a group in the same grade in the spring of 2017. This indicates a growth in instruction and programming.

The results have been analyzed for growth from one grade level to the next and for individual student growth as well.

We still have work to do, of course, but in both areas we are seeing progress, and that is positive.

At RCS, we want our students and teachers to be continually growing and learning. We don’t want our educational environment to become stagnant. As long as we are making gains and showing that we are progressing as a system, I think that is a huge win, and that’s exactly what this data shows.

I’m confident we will continue to make gains this year as well, so that our data next year reflects the growth taking place at RCS.

In coming months you will likely see a report card delivered by the state of Alabama that will compare our proficiency to other schools based on these results. As I mentioned earlier, I believe this is an inaccurate representation of how an individual child or even a school is doing. However, for now, this is how the state has chosen to grade us.

I hope you will consider this data when the report card is released.

Measuring schools against schools doesn’t show the whole picture, while measuring growth inside a school system more accurately shows the success of teachers and students. While we anticipate average to good scores on this report card, we already see from this data that collectively our students grew a tremendous amount last year.

The data is proof that RCS is a highly-effective learning environment, and we are very proud of both our students and teachers.

As always, it’s great to be a Golden Tiger!

Heath Grimes is superintendent of Russellville City Schools. 

Galleries

PHOTOS: RHS Musical Theatre presents ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Franklin County

Northwest Regional Library announces audiobooks by mail program

Franklin County

Republican primary run-off election for county commission seats takes place April 16

News

Historic Roxy Theatre celebrates 75th Anniversary with upcoming entertainment

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mark Dunbar

Franklin County

Franklin County makes seven drug trafficking arrests

Galleries

Why Knot car show cruises into downtown Russellville

News

Get free weather radio at VFDs

Franklin County

PCHS FBLA hosts Little Miss Dream Girl Pageant

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Johnnie Pounders

Features

Sam Warf: From Tennessee to the White House and beyond

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mousey Brown

News

Russellville First Baptist Church receives historical marker

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Meeting a higher standard – Russellville High School JROTC

News

RCS BOE announces new superintendent  

News

Miss Dream Girl Pageant names winners

Franklin County

First Metro Bank hosts FAME Girls’ Ranch donation drive

News

PCHS holds annual Shelby Grissom Memorial Fashion Show

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: VFW Post 5184 – ‘No One Does More For Veterans’

Features

Supporting students’ futures

Features

Red Bay Garden Club discusses amaryllis planting

Franklin County

UA announces local students for fall 2023 President’s, Dean’s, graduation lists

News

School news

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Troy Oliver

x