A Snapshot of Student Achievement and Student Growth

August 18, 2010 at 9:36 am 7 comments

The Education Consumers Foundation has created a new online chart that enables parents, policymakers, and the public to compare their local schools to each other, to state averages, and to schools across Tennessee.
The charts show how each school in grades K-8 stands with respect to both average student achievement (TCAP scores) and annual growth in student achievement (TVAAS scores).  At the high school level, the points of comparison are the ACT composite scores and cumulative achievement gain.
ECF’s new ” Birdshot Chart” was created in response to a problem raised by parents: How can we easily see which are the best local schools?
Parents are accustomed to looking at achievement scores, such as those from the TCAP and ACT tests, in order to see whether their students are performing at grade level. Many are also accustomed to seeing achievement-growth data from Tennessee’s value-added assessment system (TVAAS).  But, there was no way to see a “snapshot” of both at once.
The Birdshot Chart allows parents and interested others to do exactly that.
By simply selecting the elementary, middle, or high schools they wish to review, any user can instantly compare local schools to each other and to state averages in an intuitive, easy-to-understand format.  They can see which schools are doing the best job of lifting student achievement­–regardless of economic advantage or disadvantage–and which have the most students achieving at a high level.
The new chart also allows users to identify high poverty schools, view each school’s state-assigned letter grade for recent performance, and find other useful descriptors.  All charts can be customized to the user’s schools of interest and printed in color.

J. E. Stone, Ed.D.
Education Consumers Foundation


Entry filed under: Parents, School performance, Student achievement, sumner county education, sumner county public education, Sumner County Schools, sumner education, sumner public education, TVAAS. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jan  |  August 19, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I appears that only 1/4 of the schools have students that will be able to take advantage of the Hope Scholarship in Tennessee.

    This chart shows that for every child that has high achievement in Sumner, she or he will support, with taxes, another child who will graduate illiterate throughout their lifetime. It looks like our children have a 50/50 chance.
    Since Tennessee raised the standards to a national level (Hooray, finally) they need to support the positive movement with hands on text for the children and catch up to a higher level of technology. We are using feathers and inkwells compared to the technology used in higher achieving states.
    I hope that we can get a solid curriculum and supporting text books for children for this year. Children need books to reference to or a website would be even better, especially at home. For example, Math teachers are working from several books and copy machines this year because they don’t have the up-dated books that match the national standards “yet”. It is confusing for teachers, students, and parents who haven’t done algebra in awhile. It seems like our children are being tested at a higher level whether they have the information beforehand or not.
    In our county, we could pay attention to what is being taught in our schools, see where Sumner is lacking, and maybe borrow a complete set of standards from a top scoring state like Indiana or Massachusetts to compare. If we can’t afford new books, why not buy used books from higher scoring states for cheap on amazon? The text that offers a web-site and interactive learning are by far the best and can almost make up for an unqualified teacher in the classroom.
    I think the suggestion to close R T Fisher Alternative is a good one. These children need help, not a junior prison where their academic development regresses terribly. This chart shows how the program eliminates any hope for a independent future for a child bound in this program. Sumner also needs a solid curriculum and textbooks for the special education programs that remove a child from the classroom.
    We need to realize the huge challenge our children face and meet the needs for a meaningful education if we ever hope all of our children will be independent and able to contribute to others.

  • 2. Blue Daze  |  August 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Excellent observations, Jan. not having math books in a grammar school is like not having bandages in a hospiital. And both are shameful.

  • 3. David S.  |  August 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

    This stuff looks great I like being able to see more information about school performance. Sumner County needs to get better about offering raw data to the parents. we dont need to be spoon fed their interpretation of the data. We are informed parents we can figure out what is happening based on the information we are given.

  • 5. Jan  |  August 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Tennessee’s Standards Gap
    According to a report by Achieve Inc., the founding organization of ADP, students in Tennessee performed below national averages when measured against the standards of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) — a nationally representative measure of student achievement. For instance, when measured by NAEP benchmarks, only 23 percet of Tennessee’s 8th grade students scored at or above proficient on math tests in 2007, well below the national average of 31 percent — albeit a pitiful yard stick.

    The dismal outlook was heightened when Tennessee earned an “F” for Truth in Advertising About Student Proficiency on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Education Report Card. According to an article in The Daily Times, 87 percent of Tennessee students were labeled proficient on state reading tests in 2005, while only 26 percent of these students would have been labeled proficient by NAEP standards. Achievement scores spanned an even larger gap on math tests.

    Through an initiative called the Tennessee Diploma Project, the state not only set new benchmarks for measuring academic achievement; it also mandated tougher graduation requirements as well as revised curriculum standards for all grades to reflect college and career-ready skills. Those changes took effect last year. And only two weeks ago, the Tennessee State Board of Education adopted Common Core, a new set of academic standards shared by 48 states.


    The Common Core standards are positive step forward!

    U S Chamber of Commerce website:

  • 6. Colleen  |  August 31, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    TN really started 75 years behind the other states in public education. Other states were ahead of us even before all the Testing was established. Our standards have been behind, as has our technology and our outlook on education in general. Great information available, but remember, comparing students over the course of different years with different teachers, teaching different classes year to year sometimes, as needed by the school, is not like standard production numbers. It is more complex than any metric analysis can calculate. We deal in human beings, with ups and downs, in a variety of ever changing ages and situations. Let us hope we all do our best at each step along the way. Yeah for the Diploma Project, as long as the Testing doesn’t take on more weight than it can accurately measure.

  • 7. Andy Gregory  |  January 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Proof positive that new leadership is needed in Sumner County schools.



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