STANFORD — New school-accountability scores released Friday show Lincoln County's school district is ranked 79th in the state, scoring better than about 55 percent of Kentucky's school districts. The scores also show Lincoln County High School is now one of the better-ranked high schools in the state, having previously been ranked among the lowest.
District officials have been careful to emphasize that scores under the new Kentucky Performance Rating for Education Progress (K-PREP) system are not directly comparable with previous scores recorded under the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS).
“The data simply is not comparable to the results of years past," Superintendent Karen Hatter said. "It would be like looking at basketball, baseball and football scores and attempting to draw comparisons — you just can’t do it."
But despite the differences, High School Prinicipal Tim Godbey said his school's rise from the bottom 15 percent of high schools under CATS last year to the top third under K-PREP this year is still a meaningful change.
The improvement is at least partially due to efforts by staff and faculty following the school's designation as persistently low-achieving last October, Godbey said.
"Lincoln County High School is making increases in student achievement, but we still have work to do," he said.
Hatter said she is proud of the high school's performance.
"To move from a priority school to one close to the proficient mark is a tremendous accomplishment," Hatter said. "I commend the leadership of Mr. Godbey and the commitment of his entire staff.”
Under the new accountability system, seven of Lincoln County's nine public schools and the district itself received "needs improvement" designations while two — Hustonville and McKinney elementary schools — were classified as "proficient."
Schools were scored out of a possible 100 points and then ranked across the state by percentile.
The bottom 69 percent of schools have been given the "needs improvement" classification. The top 10 percent are designated as "distinguished," while those in between have received the "proficient" label.
Lincoln County High School's score of 57.6 is ranked 77th out of 230 high schools in the state, placing it in the 67th percentile, just three percentiles short of a "proficient" classification.
Godbey said looking at the breakdown of the high school's score, the portion based on academic achievement remained largely unchanged from the previous years.
"What that tells me is regardless of the system we're on, we still have work to do," he said.
Godbey credited an "intentional focus" on improving ACT scores and college- and career-readiness with helping the high school's overall ranking rise so high.
Because the new K-PREP results drill down to the individual-student level, Godbey said they provide "real good targets" for improving student performance.
The results also show that the high school has some students scoring at the lowest "novice" level in all areas.
"I'm not surprised by that, but I want to make sure that as a school, we understand we can't accept novice," he said. "We have to bring those kids up."
Middle school in the middle