Sampson County Schools experienced growth when it came to testing high school students and officials would like to build upon it.
During a recent work session, Col. Tommy Macon, assistant superintendent for Academics, presented test and advanced placement results with the board of education.
According to the data, three out of five high schools in the county increased in proficiency, while four of them met or exceeded growth. All schools succeeded in the majority of the improvement measures.
Macon also reported that Math I had the highest proficiency gain of the three End-of-Course (EOC) Tests which also included English Language Arts (ELA) II and Biology. All high school met or exceeded growth in the category.
In the biology and the ELA subjects, some schools had a decrease in the amount of students proficient in each category.
“Sometimes you’re going to have some off years,” Macon said about the areas of concern. “This is not typical of our high schools in terms of performance in biology and English Language Arts II.”
One of the stated reasons was key teachers not being available due to illness. But Macon is expecting the scores to improve. He said there’s some things in place to do so. Questions were asked regarding the English scores. While attending a meeting with state officials, Macon learned that English is down across the state.
“We are aware of this and we are working to correct it,” Macon said.
Overall Sampson County’s composite score improved from 54.3 percent (2013-2014) to 57.4 percent (previous school year). Based on growth measures and graduation rates, Hobbton, Lakewood, Midway and Union high schools received letters grades of C, while Sampson Early College High School earned a B.
Overall, Hobbton High School and Sampson Early College High School exceeded growth, while Lakewood High School and Union High School met growth, which shows that students in the school met progress. Midway High School did not meet growth.
At the end of the year, Macon discussed Common Core standards and expectations of growth in the state.
“The state is not showing that, but we are,” Macon said. “I feel pretty good about what we’re doing in Sampson County about growing our students and improving efficiency.”
During the 2013-2014 year, Sampson Early College High School earned an A, but Macon noted how the school was still able to exceed expectations based on all the factors involved. Lakewood had the best improvement by meeting growth expectations during the previous school year, which were not met the year before. The school’s proficiency rate increased from 37.3 percent to 42.6 percent.
“We got some work to do obviously,” Macon said. “We’re all about our vision statement — Dedicated to Continuous Improvement. That’s what we work towards.”
AP Scores Improve
Sampson County School’s Advanced Placement scores improved during the previous school year for its high schools.
“These kids are not only passing the course, but they are getting college credit for the classes as well,” Macon said about receiving dual credit. “They’re getting the rigor that goes to these classes, which will help them become successful as well.”
More than 150 students took 221 exams and 41.8 percent of the tests had a score of 3, 4 or 5. For 2013-2014 the amount was 34.87 percent. Sampson County was previously recognized as one of four school districts in the state to make the annual AP honor roll.
“We’re so proud of all the effort and work that went behind this,” Macon said.
Some of the subjects include U.S. history, biology, calculus and environmental science.
Back in 2009, the district began a requirement for AP teachers to be certified, which Macon said helped tremendously in the results.
About a decade ago, Macon said the district was excited about students earning a 2 score. But now the district is doing better. At Hobbton High School, 16.67 percent of exams had a score of 3 or higher. Lakewood was at 37.21 percent; Midway, 62.37 percent; and Union, 31.58 percent.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.