An article appeared in the October 18th Gazette-Mail regarding Kanawha County’s test scores “Kanawha says its mean SAT score is above WV’s average. But the county’s score still has dropped”. Although that is true, it is important to tell the whole story.
The KCS mean score did drop two points from last year. However, the State scores dropped by 8 points from last year and the national score dropped by 8 points from last year. This was a trend not only state wide but nationally as well.
I want to draw your attention to other indicators that demonstrate Kanawha County Schools are doing well. These important facts provide a more comprehensive view and provide the reader a better understanding of the school system.
It is important to note that all 11th graders take the SAT regardless of their academic standing. The 2019 SAT Total Scores fell within 12 points of the national score. We closed that GAP from last year by 6 points. The reading/writing scores exceeded the national score by three points. The KCS math score exceeded the State by 14 points and was within 15 points of the national. The goal will be to continue to increase academic performance.
Another indicator is the ACT score. The KCS score exceeded the State score of 20.8 with a score of 21.2. The county score showed growth from the year before as well.
The most recent official dropout rate for KCS is 1.94% which is down more than half since 2007. In 2007, the dropout rate was 4.7.
The KCS general summative assessment scores in math for grades 3-8 were above the State scores. In English/language arts in grades 3-8, the scores were above the State scores with the exception of two grades. Those two grades were within one or two points.
In addition to these increases, there are many other indicators demonstrating that our students are performing and succeeding in all areas. As a school system, there is a commitment to nurture and take care of our children since 87% of our students qualify for free lunch.
When it comes to sizing up public schools, test scores are the go-to metric. However, they are not the only indicator. The information provided by test scores provides a road map for constant improvement in helping our students achieve. It is time—indeed past time—to rethink and understand there are so many other indicators of student success than just a test score.
The point of this letter to editor is to put in context the article on Oct 18th in the Gazette-Mail. Great data presented was not included in the story. If we want our community to move forward in a time of many challenges, then let’s publish a balanced view of what is wrong and what is good instead of just one part of a presentation in isolation.
Continuous progress and growth will always be a goal of the school system. Our motto is Discover, Excel and Advance. Our students are doing that every day.
Dr. Ronald Duerring
Superintendent, Kanawha County Schools