Local superintendents Timothy Saylor and David Johnson said they were pleased with improvements made at their respective school districts and already have plans in place to reach testing goals next year.
"There are numerous schools that simply did a fantastic job," said Saylor. The county school district increased its accountability index by five points this year, reaching a 77.2 - documentation the district is "moving academics forward."
CATS scores are calculated by combining student scores on state and national tests with non-academic data, including attendance and dropout rates. Schools receive performance judgments every two years and are expected to reach 100 by 2014.
Since it is the halfway point of the two-year accountability cycle, schools don't receive performance judgments this year. But school officials say the latest test scores indicate the two school systems should reach their goals for next year, when they will be judged.
Eight of the county's 11 schools showed an increase in their accountability indexes, with Cawood Elementary leading the district with a 90 average. The school scored above 100 in five of seven content areas and, according to the school district, has met its goal of proficiency - it just must maintain its progress.
Principal Mike Cox said the school's success for the first part of the biennium was a culmination of students, parents and faculty working together. "I am very proud of our students and staff for their great accomplishments, and we will strive to continue this growth in the future," he said.
Rosspoint Elementary School followed Cawood Elementary, increasing its accountability from 76.9 to 85.4. "Out of 243 students tested, 215 students scored at the proficient level in at least one subject area," said Principal Bryan Howard.
Wallins Elementary School also scored above 100 in at least one subject area - arts and humanities.
"In several testing areas, we have scores over 100, and we are well above the state average in many other areas," said Principal Bristol P. Belcher. "We have also implemented many changes that will help us continue to be successful in the future."
Hall Elementary also showed significant gains this year with a growth of 13.3 points that brought its accountability index to 79.1.
Other county schools that increased their accountability include Green Hills Elementary, James A. Cawood High School, Cumberland High School and Evarts High School, which led the district in grades nine through 12 in six out of seven content areas.
"The 2007 test scores are a tribute to the hard work that has been done at Evarts," said Bob Howard, principal at Evarts High School. "We have spent countless hours analyzing data and looking for any place we can improve instruction.
"This was a huge schoolwide effort and we are excited to show our staff and students that hard work and commitment pay off with the academic progress shown here."
"Overall, our combined academic index improved about 10 points," said Ed Clem, principal at Cumberland High School. "This demonstrates the commitment of all stakeholders: parents, teachers and community."
"We are proud of the total effort of our students and staff and the improvements made with our test scores from last year," added Mike Jones, principal at James A. Cawood High School. "Our staff intends to work even harder this year to give our students the best opportunity possible to perform at their highest level."
Middle school students at Evarts also earned bragging rights this year, with a 109.9 score in practical living/vocational studies.
"Our overall CATS accountability score was 80, which ranked fourth in the district," said Connie Baker, principal at Evarts Elementary School. "Data showed that scores for all grade levels and subject areas are moving towards proficient levels."
Ken Watkins, principal at Black Mountain Elementary School, said middle school science and arts and humanities scores have already reached 100 "and we are very close in practical living/vocational studies."
"We have placed an emphasis in the areas of math and language arts at all grade levels and look forward to seeing the results of this effort," he said.
Johnson said the independent school district, which recorded an overall accountability index of 84.4, also saw several positives with its test scores. "Overall, we saw improvement in most areas," specifically at the middle school level, he said.
Subject areas that saw the most significant gains included reading and arts and humanities, said Johnson, who noted that administrators and teachers have already held discussions on how to address areas still in need of improvement before testing next year.
"I am pleased with the results in many areas, especially the middle school," Dr. James Greene, head of assessment for the independent school system, said during a school board meeting Tuesday. "This has given teachers a sense of unity and purpose."
Accountability index scores for 2007 will be combined and averaged with those in 2008 to determine if schools met their goals.
Because of the major revisions to CATS this year, which included more assessments in math and reading, as well as new score ranges for the novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished levels of performance, schools were given two scores - an unadjusted score used to monitor progress toward proficiency and an adjusted score used to judge schools.
For more information on how each school performed for this testing cycle, visit www.kde.state.ky.us.