Making the grade: Districts pleased with state assessment scores in a transition year

Published 6:14 pm Saturday, October 14, 2017

The release of the 2016-2017 student assessment scores looks different from previous releases, as No Child Left Behind is being left in the dust.

Following the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 and Senate Bill 1 in early 2017, this is a transition year for assessment testing, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.

Because of these changes, some of the data from previous years is not comparable to the data from the 2016-2017. KDE is not releasing overall school, district or state scores, or rankings of needs improvement, distinguished and proficient, as in the past.

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“This year, rather than focus on accountability, shareholders are encouraged to evaluate the data, dig deep and ask tough questions about levels of achievement and whether achievement gaps are closing. Both areas will figure prominently in the new accountability system,” said information from the Kentucky Department of Education to media agencies.

For more information about the testing changes and information about specific districts, visit

Boyle County Schools

It’s a year of celebration in the Boyle County Schools.

“It was another great year,” said Superintendent Mike LaFavers. “All five schools did great.”

The district’s “raw score” went up, LaFavers said, and the district was, again, in the top 10.

The Boyle County High School had its highest average ACT score of 22.4, over the state average of 19.8, and over 80 percent of the high school students score distinguished or proficient in writing, compared to 58.5 percent of high school students statewide.

The Boyle County Middle School saw the district’s biggest gains; Perryville Elementary School held onto a distinguished level, leading the district; and the other elementary schools saw increases, LaFavers said.

“All of our schools have performed really well,” he said.

In a press release from the district, LaFavers said, “Educating children is a share responsibility and the entire Boyle County community has built this impressive culture of achievement within our schools.

“Our students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators and community strive for excellence every day. It’s just fantastic to see us all working together to support our schools and build a bright future for our kids.”

Danville Independent Schools

The Danville Independent Schools are celebrating this year for several reasons.

“Danville came shining through in really positive ways,” said Superintendent Keith Look.

One positive way is Danville High School moved up 121 spots from a ranking of 211 in 2016, to a ranking of 90 in 2017.

“It’s more than significant to have a school move from needs improvement to distinguished in a year,” said Look.

This year, the state didn’t provide labels, such as distinguished, he said, but he is basing that off last’s years numbers.

The John W. Bate Middle School will shed it’s “focused school” label; there were “significant” district gains in special education numbers; elementary schools made “leaps” in math and reading growth goals and Toliver, again, reached a proficient ranking, to name a few others.

“We’re very proud,” Look said.

The continuing growth at Toliver is significant, Look said, because it shows the staff has bonded together to work for the students, in spite of all the changes they’ve gone through during the year. Students at Toliver have experienced some moves in preparation for the upcoming school consolidation and reconstruction.

“It sets a nice precedent heading into consolidation, knowing the staff’s inclination is to bond together,” he said.

In all of it, Look said it’s important to remember the students are more than just scores.

In a letter to district families and supporters, he said, “We believe that our students, on any assessment, can and do measure with the best in Kentucky and beyond.”

But Look said it is still important to celebrate the data.

“It’s not all we do. It’s not the most important thing we do, but it’s important data to recognize and celebrate,” Look said. “We are able to show significant progress.”

Testing changes

Look said he was looking forward to the changes coming in assessment testing, because it will allow Kentucky educators a chance to impact the tests in positive ways.

LaFavers and Boyle County Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, David Young, said they were looking forward to the new system, too.

Look shared that science and other subjects might not be counted in coming years’ assessment tests because they are being field tested — meaning a trial test is being used, but it may not be the one that gets selected. 

The science test that was field tested this year was more storyline-based, Young said.

Moving forward, he said the tests will be similar, but different, as they figure out the best methods.

“It’s some of the new and some of the old,” Young said.

Look said, “They are trying to see what’s good and what’s not,” or what works and what doesn’t.

“That’s good. Colleagues are doing the questions. It’s a better standard of Kentucky standards,” he said. “Having a test that reflects (Kentucky standards) is important.”

LaFavers said, “The new test, the way it’s positioned, it’s really going to focus on gap reduction. That has really been our focus in our district — all children doing well, focused well … It aligns well with the work we’ve been doing.”


The following are the achievement points for each school in the Boyle, Burgin, Casey, Danville, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer school districts. No overall numbers were given for schools or districts this year, however, according to David Young, assistant superintendent of the Boyle County Schools, that number is the most indicative of students’ learning.

Also available at are schools’ gap points, growth points, college and career readiness points and graduation points. All of those things go into determining an overall score.

Boyle County Schools

Boyle County High School: 84.3

Boyle County Middle School: 91.7

Junction City Elementary School: 87.0

Perryville Elementary School: 97.6

Woodlawn Elementary School: 96.2

Burgin Independent Schools

Burgin High School: 57.7

Burgin Middle School: 76.8

Burgin Elementary School: 65.8

Casey County Schools

Casey County High School: 63.9

Casey County Middle School: 78.6

Jones Park Elementary School: 79.1

Liberty Elementary School: 71.1

Walnut Hill Elementary School: 84.5

Danville Independent Schools

Danville High School: 52.7

John W. Bate Middle School: 68.1

Toliver Elementary School: 68.7

Jennie Rogers Elementary School: 63.3

Hogsett Elementary School: 60.7

Garrard County Schools

Garrard County High School: 63.4

Garrard County Middle School: 63.0

Camp Dick Elementary School: 69.1

Lancaster Elementary School: 57.4

Paint Lick Elementary School: 84.0

Lincoln County Schools

Lincoln County High School: 65.3

Lincoln County Middle School: 65.3

Crab Orchard Elementary School: 65.5

Highland Elementary School: 66.9

Hustonville Elementary School: 76.7

McKinney Elementary School: 49.3

Stanford Elementary School: 63.9

Waynesburg Elementary School: 45.7

Mercer County Schools

Mercer County Senior High School: 60.7

Kenneth D. King Middle School: 66.3

Mercer County Intermediate School: 69.2