A few weeks back, my wife and I had some friends over for dinner. One conversation topic was the NEST thermostat I had recently installed in my home. I was going on and on about the fact it synced to my phone and provided me endless data on temperature, energy consumption, etc. My friend, who used to teach at NL when I was the HS principal, interrupted, laughing that this conversation reminded him of one of my staff meetings. I love data...I could talk for hours about data and what information can be pulled from it. Often boring those that are tasked with listening to me. Imagine how much fun I am at parties. I get it, not everyone loves data the way I do, so I’ll do my best to be brief...another thing I’m not so good at.
Anyways, every fall school districts across the state are judged, dissected, ranked, cheered, and jeered based on the results of their state assessments and state report card. I have some very strong opinions about last year’s assessments, some I’ve shared at recent BOE meetings, others I’ll address in future blogs. In this error of state testing, I feel we are missing on another test result...the ACT...that may provide greater insight into how well we are doing as a school district.
I recently received the results from last year’s ACT results. We had 40 students take the ACT last year, the most since 2013. Those students averaged a composite score of 21.1. With the state average 22, our students showed very strong. Our results also predicted the level of college readiness for our students. 73% of our kids demonstrated college readiness in English Comp. while 45% of our kids demonstrated readiness in Algebra. Both were either right at or higher than the state average. The final data piece I’ll share address course sequence. Based on the sequence of courses New London offers in Math and Science, our students out performed the state average. I’ve often said that one data source shouldn’t be used to make any conclusions. The ACT results, although very strong, doesn’t paint the whole picture, no more than our state assessments do. When assessing the health of our school district, assessments are a piece, but so are things such as: the arts, athletics, attendance rate, graduation rate, community service, the number of college level and AP courses available, discipline data, facilities, transportation, food service, and other educational and non-educational services we provide our students and families. Each of those areas are no more important than the other and are things that I look at and evaluate when determining what can we do better as a school district. I’m proud of our ACT scores. Our students and staff work very hard and these scores show that. Let me know what you think. Feel free to email, call, stop in at the BOE offices or catch me at any of the events I attend. I value all feedback. As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.