Though most of Hamilton County's iZone schools posted test score gains this spring, it wasn't enough improvement to pull the five schools out of Tennessee's bottom 5 percent.
Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle and Woodmore Elementary were again named priority schools by the Tennessee Department of Education, a designation for the schools whose academic performance puts them among the lowest 5 percent in the state.
On Tuesday evening, the Tennessee Department of Education released results of the 2014 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. The state suppressed detailed scores for many of Hamilton County's schools, saying that achievement levels in certain categories were less than 5 percent or higher than 95 percent. But the data released showed some improvements at Hamilton County's iZone schools.
Brainerd High posted big gains in Algebra I and English I. Algebra I saw a 22.5 percent improvement with 43.2 percent of students scoring in the proficient or advanced category.
At Woodmore Elementary, students saw a 10 percent improvement on math, with 36.4 percent of students passing. Detailed scores for Woodmore's reading, social studies and science were not released Tuesday.
Orchard Knob Elementary improved in math, science, reading and social studies, posting gains of 1.8 to 7.6 percent. Principal LaFrederick Thirkill said he believes the school's continued growth will soon move it off the state's list of priority schools.
"We are very proud of the work that's happening at Orchard Knob Elementary," he said. "We know the school is headed in the right direction."
Three Hamilton County Schools were designated as focus schools, for having wide achievement gaps between different groups of students. East Ridge High, Hixson Middle, and Red Bank High were included on that list for their achievement gaps between the races. East Ridge High was also cited for an achievement gap between its English Language Learners and other students.
In a statement, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman cited the state's goals.
"For the past several years, our state has been focused both on improving overall performance of all kids in Tennessee," he said, "while closing achievement gaps between historically low-performing groups of students and their peers; our school accountability system aligns with these goals."
Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6249.