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County students show gains on TCAP

Patrick Hall

Special to The Chronicle

Wilson County Schools showed considerable gains in Math scores for 2012 and saw gains in almost every subject on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, test and End of Course test, but comparisons to other districts show room for improvement.

Data released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Education detailed TCAP and EOC scores for all 136 public school districts in the state. According to statewide numbers, nearly every district showed proficiency levels increase and two-thirds improved in every subject of TCAP tests.

All subjects except Social Studies on the TCAP test place students in a “Below Basic,” “Basic,” “Proficient” or “Advanced” category. Social Studies is scored as “Basic” or “Proficient or Advanced.”

Wilson County Schools had the higher gains in TCAP scores compared to the Lebanon Special School District. The TCAP test is administered to students in grades 3 through 8.

“We are so excited, teachers, students and administrators have worked so hard,” said Nancy Ash, county schools supervisor of testing and accountability.

In the county, 57.7 percent of students scored Proficient or Advanced in Math on the TCAP test, an increase of 14.5 percent from 2011.

Reading proficiency improved by 3.3 percent over 2011 with 62.4 percent of students scoring Proficient or Advanced on this year’s TCAP tests. Students also improved Science scores by 8.3 percent this year with 77.9 percent scoring Proficient or Advanced.

Scores for Social Studies also improved in the county system by 0.8 percent with 90.3 percent of students scoring Proficient or Advanced.

Local high school students in the county system also showed gains in Algebra I and II as well as English I and II.

Students improved scores by 7.6 percent for Algebra I and 7.9 percent for Algebra II. Also, English I scores improved by 3.2 percent and English II scores improved by 0.8 percent.

However, scores in Biology I and U.S. History dropped by 1.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Ash said hard work by students and teachers as well as the hiring of Math coaches attributed to the gains in that subject. The system has a math coach at every school, and  of them, Ash said, are certified teachers.

“There has to be additional help to give students that need it, the individual instruction to improve,” she said.

All math coaches, as well as reading coaches who were hired at the same time, have been retained in the system’s budget.

“We still need to grow and improve. We’ll never be satisfied with where we are and we want our students to have the same mindset,” Ash said.

Lebanon Special School District also made gains in every subject except Social Studies on TCAP tests. Math scores improved by 0.3 percent, Reading by 0.4 percent, Science by 0.2 percent while Social Studies scores fell by 1.5 percent.

In Math, 42.3 percent of students in LSSD scored Proficient or Advanced, 50.8 percent scored Proficient or Advanced in Reading, 69.9 percent in Science and 86.6 percent in Social Studies.

Dr. Jeanne Barker, LSSD associate director of Learning, pointed out the district met all of its achievement goals this year and was above the state average in Reading, Science and Social Studies.

However, LSSD Director of Schools Scott Benson said the district’s expectations are only going up and there are areas where the district needs to improve.

“Even though we met the current expectations, our goals are set higher each year and we will continue to work to increase achievement for all students. We have pockets of high performance and other areas where we need improvement,” he said.

The data released on Thursday showed where local students’ scores rank compared to other districts. For Wilson County, the system ranks in the top 10 for TCAP scores in Reading and Science and for EOC scores in Algebra II and English I.

The system has the ninth highest percentage of students scoring at Proficient or Advanced in those subjects. The county system ranks 39th in Algebra I, 38th in Biology I, 23rd in U.S. History and 21st in English II.

Also, county TCAP scores for Math ranked 22nd and Social Studies scores ranked 21st.

LSSD scores for Science ranked 34th while Social Studies ranked 56th, Reading 57th and Math 93rd.

“LSSD support staff and principals are working through the data now to use it to inform improvements at the school level,” Barker said.

Wilson Post Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

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