Student academic growth in Hamilton County Schools showed significant improvement according to the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System for 2018. The overall composite score for student academic growth in Hamilton County Schools improved to Level 3 – meeting growth expectations – from Level 1 last year. The state department reports TVAAS results for districts and schools using a range from Level 1 to Level 5. The 2018 results are the first time since 2013 that the district’s overall TVAAS composite across all subjects showed students meeting growth expectations.
Literacy performance remained robust in growth at Level 5, with the strongest results in elementary and middle school. Social studies also showed significant growth in elementary and middle school moving from Level 1 to Level 4. Notably, the gains in social studies were attained with a new, more rigorous assessment that students took for the first time this year. Numeracy continues to be a challenge for the district across all grade levels coming in at Level 1 on TVAAS for both 2017 and 2018. High school results generally did not show students meeting growth expectations and verifies the move to make learning more relevant with the addition of Future Ready Institutes this year, said officials.
“The results from TVAAS this year are very encouraging and indicates our schools are trending in the right direction,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Children exceeding a year’s worth of academic growth in classrooms across the district is how Hamilton County Schools will become the fastest improving school district in the state of Tennessee.”
TVAAS measures student growth from one school year to the next. Value-added growth models determine how effective teachers and schools were in helping students gain at least a year’s worth of learning while taking into consideration the student’s academic history. Growth is a good indicator of school and teacher effectiveness because it measures how much a student has progressed during the year regardless of if the student started behind or did not reach grade-level by the end of the year, said officials.
“These results show student academic growth, but there is still work to be done to ensure we have prepared our children for success after graduation,” added Dr. Johnson. “The Future Ready 2023 action plan will guide our path as teachers accelerate student growth towards higher levels of academic achievement.”
Officials said the Future Ready 2023 district action plan and individual school plans will help continue progress in schools in 2018-2019 and beyond. Several key strategies and action steps are already visible across the district. Teaching and learning staff have been reorganized to maximize effectiveness in schools, including the addition of a social studies lead teacher. The district is implementing clear learning targets for each classroom so that students and teachers understand the learning goal each day. The New Teacher Academy, school-based instructional coaches, and on-going professional development for teachers are helping to improve instruction. Future Ready Institutes are making learning relevant to the lives of teens at the high school level. Moreover, middle schools have been reimagined as Future Ready Preps, which will include a laptop for each student. Finally, teacher teams worked hard during the summer to produce curriculum guides to align with state standards and the TNReady assessment.
“All of these changes were planned to continue the progress schools are making and is evident in the TVAAS results,” said Dr. Justin Robertson, chief schools officer. “The results also show opportunities for improvement which supports the shifts we have made regarding how we are supporting teachers and leaders through instructional resources and professional learning.”