Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

November 7, 2012

Carter scores show improvement

By Leeann Akers - Managing Editor

Nov. 7, 2012 — Test scores in the Carter County School District have been a topic of concern for several years, but according to the results released Friday, hard work has paid off for some schools.

The District as a whole is still classified as needing improvement, but moved from a Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) school system to performing among the top three districts in the region. Carter is in the top 38-percent in the state, outperforming 61-percent of other districts.

The feather in the district's cap is Star Elementary. The school's scores fell into the 95-percentile, and earned the school a designation of one of the Kentucky Schools of Distinction. Only 77 elementary schools from a total of 733 across the state received this designation.

Prichard Elementary School and West Carter Middle School, with overall scores in the 70-percentile, and East Carter High School, with an overall score in the 71-percentile, all fall within the Proficient classification. Only sixty-five middle schools and forty-six high schools across the state fell within this category.

Schools that still need improvement within the district are Carter Elementary School (56-percentile), Heritage Elementary (44-percentile), Olive Hill Elementary (33-percentile), Upper Tygart Elementary (59-percentile), East Carter Middle School (66-percentile) and West Carter High School (24-percentile.)

“While some schools were more successful in terms of assessment results, we cannot dismiss the tremendous amount of work and effort put forth by all employees in our quest to become 'The Standard of Excellence,'” Supt. Ronnie Dotson said. “Certainly, we want to celebrate the success that is evident in our district, but we must consider where we go from here.”

Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning assessment and accountability system is designed to provide in-depth information about the performance of students, schools, districts and the state as a whole. The system has five main components: achievement (how students perform on state tests), gap (how students who traditionally under-perform compared to their peers are progressing), growth (how all students are making progress), college/ career readiness (how well schools and districts are preparing students for life after high school) and graduation rate (how many students are graduating on time.)

Points from these areas are weighted and added together for an overall score, then rank-ordered and placed into percentiles. A school’s or district’s percentile ranking will determine its overall category.

Overall district scores are ranked in order; overall school scores are ranked in order by level – elementary, middle, and high. Based on where they fall in the order, schools and districts will fall into one of three main classifications: distinguished, which is in the top 10-percent of districts or schools from that level, proficient, which falls in the top 30-percent of districts or schools from a particular level, and needs improvement, which are schools or districts falling outside of the Proficient or Distinguished categories.

Complete data for the entire district and for individual schools may be accessed online from the Kentucky Department of Education. (

This is the first year for the Kentucky’s new Unbridled Learning system. The data and scores will be used as a baseline for the future.