State official sees improvement in academics at Hancock Schools

HANCOCK — Academic proficiency has shown a significant increase for grades 6-12 in the Hancock Public Schools District, based on an interim of assessments by state education officials.

Those assessments measure progress throughout the academic calendar, according to a report submitted by Principal Ezekiel Ohan in February to Michigan Department of Education field service consultant Alan Thomas.

The interim assessments, the report stated, provided educators with the ability to target instruction using data-driven decisions for maximizing student learning.

Hard baselines created by national, state and locally generated cut scores, demonstrate student aptitude, which is often used for preparation, performance and predictor, when summary testing is addressed.

Cut scores are selected points on the score scale of a test, according to the Educational Testing Service website (ets.org). The points are used to determine whether a particular test score is sufficient for some purpose.

As an example, student performance on a test may be classified into one of several categories such as basic, proficient, or advanced on the basis of cut scores.

With established baselines, Hancock Schools now has an academic projection capacity to meet students at their ability level. Ohan said it is a realistic indication of “where our students are.”

Accumulated data was analyzed, and showed math scores remain an academic soft spot for Hancock Public Schools, the report states, so it will remain an area of focus.

The Math Department profiles a young collaborative of recently hired educators who have served a process in lesson planning and test design to mirror both state and national summative types.

The data submitted was generated from authored curricula compliant with MDE standards, the report states, thereby creating a static system to ensure consistent applications across the spectrum of student achievement.

With new teaching methods introduced, along with current practices already used, that data shows them to be effective, Ohan said, and student achievement has been been increasing.

Data recorded on the 2016-17 school year, the baseline, was compared with data from the 2017-18 school year.

“Our scores were up,” Ohan said in an interview last week. “The scores went up in English, in evidence-based reading and writing. The scores go up in math.”

The data collected now allows teachers to make soft projections into the 2020 school year, Ohan said, and with the continued practices being applied in the classroom, the projections show Hancock Public Schools exceeding state and national benchmarks.

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