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English: Scores show 'need for improvement'

District-level results from the 2015 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) were recently released by the Tennessee Department of Education.
The results show the percentages of students who scored either below basic, basic, proficient or advanced in the tested subject areas. In grades 3-8 students were tested in math, reading and science. High school students were tested in Algebra I, Algebra II, Biology I, English I, English II and English III.
According to Director of Schools John English, Unicoi County’s TCAP results demonstrated “the need for improvement.”
“Our test scores are obviously not where we want them to be,” English said. “We are taking the necessary steps to try and improve this.”
English said system officials are first addressing how to better support “the very hard work of our teachers and staff.”
“One step we have taken that we feel will have a positive effect on teaching and learning is the curriculum supervisor position split with an elementary and secondary focus,” English continued. “We feel this will offer teachers more instructional support than offered previously.”
The Erwin Record previously reported that the Unicoi County Board of Education voted to create an additional curriculum supervisor position in order to provide the support English mentioned.
English previously said it is “difficult” for one employee to serve the system’s entire population for testing, evaluations, standards and curriculum.
“That’s a big job for one person,” he added. “Having someone to focus on K-5 and someone who can focus on secondary will offer our teachers more support than before.”
Jenifer Lingerfelt was hired as the curriculum supervisor for Kindergarten through fifth grades; Sherry Ray was hired as the supervisor for grades six through 12.
“The testing for those two areas is different,” English also previously said. “The curriculum is different. Sherry and Jenifer can specialize and focus their attention on the needs in their areas. I’m really excited about the potential there.”
English said there were some bright spots in the test results for Unicoi County.
“We certainly had areas of strength with high school English, chemistry and biology,” English said. “There were also areas of strength in fifth grade math and some growth in certain areas at the elementary level; however, overall, we recognize the need for improvement.”
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Included in the TCAP results is a “growth over last year” category. According to the state, the “growth over last year” is “the difference between 2013-14 and 2014-15 in terms of the percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced.”
According to the information released by the state, results for Unicoi County students in grades 3-8 were as follows:
Math – 17.8 percent below basic, 33.8 basic, 29.8 proficient, 18.6 percent advanced. These results show a 0.1 percent growth over last year.
Reading – 12.5 percent below basic, 44.7 percent basic, 34.8 percent proficient, 8 percent advanced. These results show a -3.7 percent in growth over the previous year.
Science – 10 percent below basic, 21.6 percent basic, 48.4 percent proficient, 20 percent advanced. These results show a -0.8 percent growth over last year.
Results for Unicoi County High School, according to the state, were as follows:
Algebra I – 19.5 percent below basic, 29.3 percent basic, 30.7 percent proficient, 20.5 percent advanced. These results show a 2.8 percent growth over the previous year.
Algebra II – 33.6 below basic, 39.7 percent basic, 20.7 percent proficient, 6 percent advanced. These results show a 3.9 percent growth over last year.
Biology I – 11.2 percent below basic, 16.2 percent basic, 50.4 percent proficient, 22.2 percent advanced. These results show a 19.3 percent growth over the previous year.
Chemistry – 16.8 percent below basic, 40.6 percent basic, 26.9 percent proficient, 15.7 percent advanced. These results show a 6 percent growth over last year.
English I – 3.9 percent below basic, 20.3 percent basic, 63.4 percent proficient, 12.4 percent advanced. These results show a 9.7 percent growth over the previous year.
English II – 10.6 percent below basic, 26.1 percent basic, 53.6 percent proficient, 9.7 percent advanced. These results show an 8 percent growth over last year.
English III – 15.9 percent below basic, 46.2 percent basic, 30.8 percent proficient, 7.1 percent advanced. These results show an 11.2 percent growth over the previous year.