Picking the Unblemished Cherries

The headline in the Chronicle says, “SOL scores soar in Charles City.”

The text continues:

In Charles City, several areas saw massive gains in comparison to the previous year. Of the improvement areas, perfect pass rates were achieved in the areas of Algebra II and chemistry. Subject areas that saw a 20 or more point gain include grade seven English reading (64 to 85), World History I (59 to 79), World History II (54 to 92), grade three mathematics (53 to 81), grade seven mathematics (36 to 66), geometry (28 to 51), and the aforementioned Algebra II (34 to 100). . .

“When we got those scores in, it was absolute elation,” said Charles City superintendent of schools David Gaston. “Coming off last year, we didn’t do poorly but we knew we had areas to work on.

To be sure, CCCo saw some nice pass rate gains this year. As well, there were some (unmentioned) decreases.

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In the larger view, the overall trends do not justify the Superintendent’s “elation.”

Reading is indeed up this year. But over half of the gain was used to overcome the loss of 2018.

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The six year trend is +0.21% per year.

The trends in the other subject areas are less encouraging.

In math, this year’s gain was not sufficient to overcome the 2018 decrease, and the overall trend is down.

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History and social science, moreso.

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The writing pass rate this year fell to a six-year low, wiping out the gains of the previous two years.

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This year’s decrease in the science pass rate more than undid 2018’s increase.

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The average of those five subject area pass rates increased by 1.2 points this year but the trend continued to decline (-1.4 points per year).

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It takes selective blinders to see cause for “elation” in these data. A more measured reaction might be “some bright spots but large areas that continue to need our attention.”