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Preliminary testing shows improvement

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By Todd Martin

The Shelby County Board of Education got to walk through the district's first year of MAP data during Thursday's meeting and to learn how administration and teachers can use the data to track learning by school, grade, class and individual student.

Kerry Fannin, the assistant superintendent for student achievement, and Lisa Smith, the director of student programs and services, led two groups that showed how the district is able to breakdown the data.

The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests are taken twice a year by every student and a third time, in between the first two tests, by students identified as needing more instruction.

That data is then used to predict a student's success on the KCCT (Kentucky Core Content Test, commonly called CATS) state testing.

This is the first year the district has used the MAP testing, so the final results of how well it translates to KCCT tests is not yet known, but based on the district's KCCT scores from last year, the district is primed for a few jumps.

The KCCT test was taken in April, but results are not posted until the fall.

According to the MAP data, the elementary schools basically have maintained the same levels, with slight drops in the percentage of proficient and distinguished scores (the two highest levels of scores).

As a whole, the six elementary schools dipped about .6 percent in reading (74.5 in 2009 to 73.9 for projected 2010) and about 1 percent in math (from 72.9 to 69.9).

The numbers for writing, however, are off the charts in improvement. The district jumped about 18 percent to 72.7 percent proficient and distinguished, showing improvement at all schools.

It's unclear how well the Language Usage section of the MAP data, which Fannin said equates to writing, actually translates to the writing.

Fannin did not return several calls from The Sentinel-News seeking clarification.

The middle and high school levels show reason for excitement.

Based on the 2009 KCCT scores, East and West middle schools both show strong improvement in all three categories, improving the number of proficient and distinguished scores about 15 percent in reading, 11 percent in math and better than doubling the number in writing, a 40 percent improvement.

High school students showed a similar increase, gaining about 17 percent more distinguished and proficient scores in reading and more than 40 percent more in writing.

No MAP data was given for high school students.   STLP state winner

Bailee Wilson, a fourth-grader at Wright Elementary, was awarded first place for her graphic arts work at the state  Student Technology Leadership Program conference. Wilson wasn't able to attend the conference because of CATS testing, so Elaine Harrison-Lane with the Kentucky STLP presented her with the award at Thursday's meeting.

  Preschool expansion

Lisa Smith was given approval from the board to investigate expansion possibilities for the preschool program. The number of students enrolled in preschool continue to climb in Shelby County, and the board would like to help as many students as possible. Smith said she expects the preschool numbers to jump from about 210 this past school year to between 260 to 280 next year.

The options Smith will explore are: * A tuition-based enrollment.

* Increasing capacity by using existing space in elementary and high schools.

* Partnership with existing community daycares that do not already offer preschool.

  Also at the meeting:

* The finance corporation allowed the refunding of bonds for Painted Stone Elementary. The district could save nearly $350,000 if the bonds meet refunding prices.

* The board approved bids for district-wide insurance and window shades, blinds for Collins High School, change orders and a direct purchase change order for Collins, and change orders 2-7 for the Collins Athletic Complex.