ACPS 2011-2012 Academic Results Show Improvement
Reading Scores Up and Number of AP Test Takers Increase to Highest Ever
Alexandria, Va. — Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Morton Sherman said today that even with increased enrollments, the steady growth in reading scores on the state Standards of Learning (SOL) exams shows that schools can make huge differences under challenging circumstances with the right focus. Last year, the division committed to making reading an area of focus for the 2011-12 school year to stop the downward trend in SOL reading scores from the previous three years.
"Our schools are meeting the challenge of improving literacy and reading comprehension by making this a priority using data to guide instruction across the division," Dr. Sherman said. "Out of the seven grade levels tested in reading, grades 3, 4 and 6 improved and grade 8 maintained last year's achievement level. We still have work to do; however we are pleased to see progress."
ACPS also used Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) quarterly assessments and targeted monitoring of students to help boost reading scores. School administrators were encouraged to use what worked best for their school population and climate. The number of English Language Learners (ELL) students and the number of students receiving free and reduced price meals increased substantially last school year. William Ramsay Elementary School and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science, and Technology are examples of schools making a huge difference under challenging circumstances having made gains across all grade levels in reading. Ninety-eight percent of Cora Kelly's fifth-graders passed the reading SOL. Both schools serve diverse populations and have the highest percentage of students eligible for free and reduced price meals in the division.
"Even as we see gains across the division, I am extremely proud of the gains in reading made at Cora Kelly and Ramsay," Dr. Sherman said. "These schools have placed much-needed focus on their reading programs and adapted to changing populations and student needs for excellent results in reading."
Statewide, as expected, the new state mathematics assessments produced an expected downward turn in math scores. They do, however, provide a foundation and new baseline data for future achievement. Sixth grade math scores rose by seven points, while the other eight grade levels tested, consistent with state level trends, resulted in decreased scores. ACPS will focus on professional development for teachers with support in the area of math concepts, monthly data analysis by teachers for use in the classroom and a close look at best practices where ACPS teachers and schools are meeting benchmarks and showing improvement in math scores. ACPS is monitoring individual teachers and results that are exemplary in an effort to gain insight that can be shared across the division; clearly there are lessons that can be learned from these teachers. The Virginia Department of Education released Math SOL results today that can be viewed at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2012/aug14.shtml. Statewide SOL test results can be viewed at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2012/aug14.xlsx.
Preliminary 2012 Advanced Placement (AP) results indicate the greatest number of AP tests taken by the largest number of AP students in the history of T.C. Williams High School. Of equal importance, achievement results also increased, besting the historic levels seen in recent years. A total of 785 students took 1,623 AP subject tests in the spring of 2012. The 785 students who took at least one AP test in 2012 represented an increase of 4 percent from the 2011 total. The percent of students at T.C. Williams who took at least one AP test in 2012 was 37 percent, a 2 percent point increase from 2011.
For more detailed information on results or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Alexander, director of communications, at 703-824-6635.