End-of-course test performance improves in St. Mary

High school students required to participate in the state End-of-Course (EOC) tests have demonstrated remarkable levels of proficiency in various course subjects that comprise the high stakes examination program. Overall, results for St. Mary students eclipse previous proficiency ratings and represent a continued effort among students, teachers and instructional leaders to raise academic performance.

EOC tests are gradually replacing the Graduation Exit Exam and measure skills or content of a given course rather than a culmination of knowledge from core areas of instruction. The EOC test became high-stakes with the freshman class of 2010-11.

Incoming students are now required to pass three EOC tests from the pool of English 2, English 3, algebra 1, geometry, biology or American history. Students attain one of four levels of achievement: Excellent, Good, Fair or Needs Improvement. Any student who fails to meet the proficiency standard by scoring Needs Improvement has the opportunity to retest at a later date.

In 2011-12, EOC tests were administered to students enrolled in the areas of algebra, geometry, English 2, and biology and were completed near the close of the semester. During the upcoming school year, the test will expand into the areas of English 3 and U.S. history. Pilot testing of those subjects were conducted this spring at selected school sites. The addition also will signal the end of a GEE for high school students.

In St. Mary, results indicate that initial test takers performed well in all four content areas with 83 percent proficiency in algebra, 85 percent in geometry, 89 percent in biology and 90 percent in English 2.

While algebra levels dipped slightly from the 2011 average of 86 percent proficiency, averages in geometry and biology increased significantly from 80 percent and 81 percent, respectively.

Eighth-grade students enrolled in Algebra 1 also accomplished high levels of proficiency, as 98 percent posted scores at the proficiency level with 46 percent achieving an excellent rating.

Superintendent Donald Aguillard issued a statement of commendation to students and teachers for their commitment to academic excellence as illustrated in ever increasing proficiency ratings on state standardized tests.

“The addition of End-of-Course test data to the district’s 2012 accountability portfolio substantiates an adherence to instructional goals and remarkable academic performance among our students. Teachers have clearly challenged students to excel and provided them with the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish the task. Our instructional staff is currently working to facilitate the transition of core courses to meet complex learning targets encompassed within the Common Core Standards. The update curriculum support will ensure that students and teachers have the preparation needed to continue to post academic improvements.”

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