Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 23, 2013

Test scores on the rise at MVTHS

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON – Mt. Vernon Township High School is meeting or exceeding district goals for test scores, according to a new report by Assistant Principal Rob Pipher.

Pipher gave a presentation at Monday's MVTHS Board of Education meeting, updating board members on student academic performance.

For the 2013 spring semester, an estimated 85 percent of MVTHS students received A, B, or C grades. This exceeds the board's goal of 80 percent.

“We've seen a few shifts, (but) overall every grade level has met the goal,” Pipher said.

The board also has a goal of having 5 percent or fewer students receiving failing grades.

In the 2013 semester, 6 percent of MVTHS students received failing grades. This total is troubling, but overall grades are on the upswing, said Principal Wes Olson.

“The (grade) distribution is in line with what the board's goals are,” Olson said. “Some more analysis needs to go along with that to see if there's some trends.”

Another aspect of Pipher's report examined students' “on track” status, or whether they are receiving enough credits to graduate.

“On track status provides us with benchmarks so we can see where students are at based on credits accrued,” Olson said. “We closely monitor where our students are at in relation to graduation requirements.”

For the upcoming 2013-2014 school year, 90 percent of seniors at MVTHS are on track to graduate, compared to 78 percent at the same time last year.

Pipher said he attributes much of this improvement to the district's credit recovery program. This gives failing students an option to make up their credits rather than transferring to the alternative school or dropping out altogether.

Students who have failed a class can take the credit recovery program course online the next semester. The course is completed independently often in lieu of a study hall.

Olson said the program is starting its third year and has been quite effective.

“It's really helped our kids to have another option to acquire those credits and get back on track toward graduation,” Olson said.

Pipher also provided some preliminary state testing results. While all the scores are not yet available, MVTHS students are trending upward in their performance, he said.

Between 2012 and 2013, a higher number of students met or exceeded standards in state testing for math, science, and reading.

In math this year, 47 percent of students met or exceeded the standards, compared to 45 percent in 2012. Fifty-three percent of students met or exceeded standards for reading this year, compared to 46 percent in 2012. And in science this year, 46 percent of students met or exceeded standards, compared to last year's 43 percent.

Pipher's report was part of an in-depth presentation at Monday's MVTHS Board meeting, given by members of the school's Leadership Team.

Board President Carl Miller said additional presentations will be made in the future when more specific state testing results are available.

“It's a great thing that brings the board up to date on scores,” Miller said of the presentations.

Other MVTHS Board actions Monday included:

n Accepting the resignations of assistant girls soccer coach Jeff Scarbrough, and assistant Future Business Leaders of America sponsor Nikki Bauer-Prost.

n Approval of the hiring of Mary Elizabeth Johnson as a new business education teacher.