City school offcials review test scores

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

November 16, 2013

Recently released test scores, reflecting the first year of the Common Core curriculum, show Clinton City Schools in much the same boat as systems across the state — with less performance growth than had been hoped.

Clinton City Board of Education members heard from Lenora Locklear, K-12 Curriculum and Instruction director, and Sharon Mitchell, Accountability and Testing coordinator, late in the week concerning the recently released state EOG and EOC test scores for the city schools, scores that followed the statewide trend and were lower than system is used to seeing.

Mitchell began by sharing with the school board how Clinton City Schools ranked in its overall proficiency performance composite. Compared to the state’s composite results, which equalled 44.7 percent, Clinton City Schools, as a system, came in slightly lower at 39.3 percent with Butler Avenue School achieving 43.9 percent; Sunset Avenue School, 39.2 percent; Sampson Middle School, 40.8 percent; and Clinton High School, 32.1 percent in composite proficiency performance.

Mitchell and Locklear then took school board members through each school’s individual proficiency scores in the various subject areas tested, beginning with Butler Avenue, where students were tested in reading and math.

“Butler did very well,” noted Locklear, pointing out that the elementary school achieved 43.2 percent proficiency in reading and 44. 7 percent in math. According to the data presented during the meeting, the school’s reading proficiency was slightly lower than the state results which came in at 43.9 percent while the school’s math proficiency was higher than the state’s 42.3 percent.

Mitchell added that, in her opinion, one of the reasons Butler performed well, especially in light of the new curriculum and new standards, is because the school has had consistency in teachers, experiencing little teacher turnover.

Sunset Avenue students were tested in reading, math, and science. Like Butler, Sunset’s math proficiency score, 43.8 percent, was higher than the state results at 42.3 percent. Reading proficiency rated at 33.8 percent while science came in at 40.9 percent.

“The fact that we’ve done well in math in the past shows here,” said Locklear. “It’s paid off.”

Sampson Middle School students were also assessed in reading, math, and science plus Math I, previously known as Algebra I. The middle school’s proficiency scores in science, 61.2 percent, and in Math I, 81 percent, were both higher than the state results in those subject areas. The school’s reading proficiency was 36.7 percent while it’s math proficiency equalled 35.5 percent.

Students at Clinton High School tested in Math I/Algebra I, Biology, and English II, achieving its highest proficiency in English II with 41 percent. The high school’s Math I proficiency score came in at 29.6 while its Biology score was 25.7 percent.

Previously, before test scores were released, Locklear warned that “they’re going to look different” than scores have in recent years.

“We’ve always seen a drop (when starting a new curriculum),” she pointed out at the end of October, recalling a couple of major curriculum changes in the past 10 years that previously brought about the same kinds of growing pains. “Always within two to three years we see a gradual increase (in scores). Proficiency levels are expected to increase as teachers and students get acclimated to the curriculum.”

Locklear then explained to the school board that the city school system met 103 of its 117 federal and state annual measurable objectives (AMO) targets with Butler meeting 100 percent of its targets; Sunset, 93 percent; Sampson Middle, 87.5 percent; and Clinton High, 80 percent.

As for the system’s growth, the data showed that only one of the schools — Sampson Middle School — met its growth.

Following the presentation, board member Carol Worley requested to see what meeting or not meeting growth equated to numerically and how those numbers would compare to the state, curious to see how close Sunset and Clinton High were to meeting growth.

Locklear and Mitchell acknowledged that information was still coming in from the Department of Public Instruction but that their future plans included getting that information, breaking down the data into subgroups, and doing a growth analysis for each school, the teachers, and the students. They also informed the school board that test score reports would go home with students the next day on Friday.

Concluding the review of the test scores, Superintendent Stuart Blount stressed to the school board members that while concerned about proficiency the school system’s focus is primarily on student growth.

“Statewide, it’s easier to publicize proficiency…It’s hard to promote the difference between the two because one is so much easier to understand,” he said. “It’s our job, our responsibility, and mine as your superintendent, to ensure that we have things in place to ensure growth. The growth component is what we are going to continue to focus on.”

“We want a high proficiency and we want to meet our targets but we want to make sure that each of our kids is growing,” agreed Locklear.

For questions or more information from Clinton City Schools, please contact Lenora Locklear at 910-592-3132, ext. 1106 or via email at Information can also be found on the city schools’ district website at as well as on each school’s website. Also visit

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at