Marvin Pirila, Northland Watch
According to Great Schools, a non-profit monitor of school performances, the Cromwell-Wright Secondary “is rated about average in school quality compared to other schools in the state. Students here perform about average on state tests, have above average college readiness measures, are making about average year-over-year academic improvement, and this school has below average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students.” All figures and assessments are from the last known scores, 2016.
Great Schools reports that Cromwell-Wright’s secondary has a reading proficiency of 55% compared to the state average of 58%. In math, they scored a 63% compare to the state average of 54%. Finally, in science they averaged 32% compared to 47%. Their assessment, “Worth a deeper look: Test scores at this school are about the same as the state average, though still below the top-performing schools in the state. Because test scores in some states are so low, many students at this school may not be performing at grade level”.
They also reported that Cromwell-Wright has a high school graduation rate of 95% versus a state average of 82%. They had an average ACT score of 21, whereas the state is 21, and an average AP course participation of <1%, versus the state average of 17%. The assessment by Great Schools, “A promising sign: This school is above the state average in key measures of college and career readiness.”
(Remember: high graduation rates don't mean much if students are graduating without the coursework and test scores they need to succeed.)” Note: Advanced Placement classes are rigorous classes with a final exam. The percentage of students taking AP exams may reflect whether the school culture is focused on college.
Great Schools ranked the Cromwell-Wright Secondary a 6/10 for student progress. This rating measures how much students at this school improved from one year to the next, compared to students with similar proficiency levels at other schools in the state. Their assessment, “Worth a deeper look: Students at this school are making average academic progress given where they were last year, compared to similar students in the state.”
In its rating of equity review, which measures whether this school if offering opportunity for all its students, or leaving some kids behind, Cromwell-Wright gets a 2/10.
As for class sizes, Cromwell-Wright has a ratio of 12 students per teacher, whereas the state average is 15:1. The percentage of teachers with three or more years’ experience is 74% versus a state average of 89%, and 100% of full time teachers who are certified versus a state average of 100.
“…Because there are so many variables in the average classroom — the quality of the teacher, the home environment of the students, the quality of the curriculum, the leadership of the school — it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about student achievement based on class size alone. In other words, strategies effective in one setting may not be equally effective in another. Nevertheless, studies over a period of years have pointed to a number of trends as a result of lowering class size:
-Gains associated with small classes generally appear when the class size is reduced to less than 20 students.
-Gains associated with small classes are stronger for the early grades.
-Gains from class size reduction in the early grades continue for students in the upper grades. Students are less likely to be retained, more likely to stay in school and more likely to earn better grades.
Education researchers suspect that class size reduction in the early grades helps students achieve because there is a greater opportunity for individual interaction between student and teacher in a small class. Teachers generally have better morale in a small class, too, and are less likely to feel overwhelmed by having a variety of students with different backgrounds and achievement levels. As a result, they are more likely to provide a supportive environment.
…In the early grades, students are just beginning to learn about the rules of the classroom, and they are figuring out if they can cope with the expectations of education. If they have more opportunity to interact with their teacher, they are more apt to feel like they can cope.
This theory would also explain why lowering class size in the upper grades may not have the same effect on achievement. Students in the upper grades, who may not have had the benefits of a small class in the early years, have already formed their habits, good and bad, for coping with their classroom environment. Simply reducing the class size at this level may not be enough to change their ways.” Source: Great Schools
So, why do the papers glorify the schools and avoid the true status of the schools? Simply, small schools are a significant portion of their news, but more importantly their income via advertisements and mandated public notices. Regardless of the consequences, the newspaper is beholden to printing the factual status of the school, highlighting both its both its high and low points. Parents must get involved, at home and in the school, and make sure their son or daughter is getting the education they need to be successful in life.
On a positive note, secondary ranked 6/10 for student progress from 2015 to 2016. This is a good sign and hopefully a trend that will continue..