MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

November 7, 2013

Muskogee Public Schools score D-

Three local schools get an F; Hilldale, FG score B

With three schools scoring an F, Muskogee Public Schools dropped from a C to a D- on the state’s report card.

The A-F report cards, released Thursday by the Oklahoma Department of Education, listed Whittier and Harris-Jobe Elementary Schools and Alice Robertson Junior High as F schools. Sadler Arts Academy rose from a B to an A-, Tony Goetz retained a B. Muskogee High School went from a B to a B-. Other Muskogee schools dropped in grades.

“The results aren’t exactly what we hoped for, but we have our doubts about the validity of the A-F grading system anyway,” said Muskogee Superintendent Mike Garde in an email. “It’s flawed. And it doesn’t reflect the progress made by many of our students and the hard work of our teachers. We are continuing to work hard to bring our students ever closer to success no matter what flawed grading system the state decides to hang its hat on. We will, however, look at our students’ performance on the tests on an individual basis and use that information to continue moving forward.”

Harris-Jobe Principal Justin Walker said there were many differences between this year’s grading system and last year’s.

“Attendance had a greater affect on scoring last year than this year,” Walker said.

This year’s system also gave a point credit for students scoring “proficient” or passing state tests, but not for students scoring advanced on the tests, Walker said.

Three students missed passing the tests by one point, Walker said, adding that those three points could have made a difference in the school’s letter grade.

Half of the 2013 A-F grade is based on student performance, one-fourth is based on overall student growth and one-fourth on growth of bottom students. Extra points are earned on performance on such factors as college entrance exams, advanced course work, year to year growth and graduation rate.

In 2012, 33 percent of the letter grade was based on student achievement, 33 percent on whole school performance, 17 percent on overall student growth and 17 percent on growth of the bottom 25 percent of the students.

Fort Gibson and Hilldale each received B district scores, the same as 2012.

Hilldale High School Principal Deborah Tennison said she is pleased the school received an A, like it did in 2012.

“We are very proud of them,” Tennison said. “The teachers worked very hard, the students worked hard.”

However, Tennison also questioned some of the results.

“Do we agree with everything on the report? No,” she said. “We do not get credit for our students who score advanced and our EOI performance gets bonus points.”

EOI performance is how well the students did on state end of instruction tests.

Hilldale Upper Elementary School improved from a C to a B. The Lower Elementary and Middle School remained at B.

Fort Gibson High School rose from a B to an A. The Fort Gibson Middle School rose from a B to a B+. The Intermediate School and Early Learning Center each went from a B to a C+.

Fort Gibson Superintendent Derald Glover said officials are very pleased with the results.

“Fort Gibson is known for consistently solid state test scores, ACT scores, PSAT scores and student achievement in numerous areas,” Glover said in a prepared statement. “We are attempting to gain some information from the state tests that we can use to help our children, but little can be gained at this time. We are very pleased with the results we had on the tests that were consistent with last year’s exams. And we anticipate and will adjust to the science and writing tests that were changed by the state.”

Glover said the overall test results at each site “has little meaning as it is not comparable to any measure we have had in the past.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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