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All schools in the Caroline County Public Schools division were granted full accreditation for the 2012-13 school year, according to information released by state education officials.
Accreditation is awarded according to student achievement the previous school year in four core subject areas – English, mathematics, history, and science – and is based on Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Accreditation data was released by the state Department of Education on Wednesday.
Tougher SOL math tests were implemented last school year, and scores statewide dropped accordingly.
Declining SOL math scores impacted accreditation of three Caroline schools – Caroline High School, Caroline Middle School, and Madison Elementary School. Since their pass rates for math fell below the target rate of 70, they had to rely on a three-year average of math scores.
The high school’s pass rate for math was 67, but its three-year average is 79. The middle school’s pass rate for math was 61; its three-year average, 71 – just barely exceeding the 70 benchmark. Madison’s pass rate for math was 64, its three-year average, 80.
Also, two Caroline schools, Bowling Green Elementary and Bowling Green Primary, just barely reached the one-year target for math with a 71 pass rate.
Since the primary school is pre-K-2 and the elementary school is grades 3-5, their results are paired; both have the same numbers for accreditation ratings.
Other SOL results were mixed. Not counting math, pass rates for Bowling Green Primary and Bowling Green Elementary declined in four categories and improved in one. For Lewis & Clark Elementary, which achieved the highest pass rates of the county’s four elementary schools, pass rates improved in three areas and fell in two, and at Madison, pass rates improved in three categories and declined in two.
The improvements or declines in pass rates at Madison and Lewis & Clark were five points or less. At Bowling Green Primary and Bowling Green Elementary, the changes in some cases were more pronounced. For example, the pass rate for grade 3 history declined 12 points from 89 to 77, the pass rate for science declined by 9 points from 93 to 84, and the pass rate for grade 3 science declined 8 points from 89 to 81. The pass rate for history improved by 6 points from 88 to 94.
Caroline High School just attained the 85 benchmark of the graduation completer index, which the state Board of Education introduced last year. The graduation completion index awards full credit for students who earn a board-recognized diploma; partial credit is awarded for students who earn GEDs and local credentials and for those expected to return for a fifth year of high school.
On the plus side for the high school, more students are graduating with an advanced diploma – 43 percent for the 2011-12 school year compared to 39 percent a year earlier and 30 percent two years ago.
The high school also is producing more students who are earning various credentials for career and technical education (CTE) and completing CTE programs. The number of students who have earned one ore more credentials increased from 59 for 2009-10 to 71 for 2010-11; figures for 2011-12 were not available. In addition, the number of CTE completers has risen from 90 in 2009-10 to 131 in 2010-11 and 151 for 2011-12.
Statewide, the percentage of schools earning full accreditation fell 3 points to 90 percent. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright attributed the decline in part to the new, more stringent college- and career-ready math tests. “We can expect a similar impact next year when we see the results of schools implementing more rigorous standards and tests in English and science this school year,” said Wright in a news release issued by the Department of Education.
The percentage of fully accredited high schools increased from 86 to 90. Eight-eight percent of Virginia middle schools were fully accredited, and 96 percent of the state’s elementary schools.
In addition, the number of schools accredited with warning increased from 30 last year to 100.
Complete ‘report cards’ for the Caroline County Public Schools division and each of its schools is available on the state Department of Education website at https://p1pe.doe.virginia.gov/reportcard.