Rec­og­nize im­prove­ments

The Covington News - - OPINION -

Stu­dents and teach­ers re­turned to the class­room Fri­day, hope­fully tak­ing note of last year’s im­prove­ments in many test­ing ar­eas to do even more pos­i­tive work this school year.

As the EOCT scores for in­di­vid­ual high schools were re­leased by the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion this week, it’s great news to see how much stu­dents im­proved over their pre­vi­ous scores. We can’t ex­pect stu­dents to sud­denly start mark­ing per­fect scores on ev­ery test, so be­ing bet­ter than last year is cer­tainly the good sign teach­ers and par­ents should be look­ing for.

The district, as a whole, logged bet­ter marks this year over last in ev­ery sub­ject that could be com­pared. Yes, the math scores are still well un­der what we may want to see, but just a few more years of 10-per­cent im­prove­ments – co­or­di­nate al­ge­bra passed 29 per­cent of stu­dents af­ter pass­ing only 19 per­cent in 2013 – will put us in great shape.

We have ev­ery right – and obli­ga­tion -- to hold those re­spon­si­ble, be they stu­dents, teach­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors or lead­ers, for un­der­per­for­mance when it’s clear some­thing bet­ter could be done. But fo­cus­ing only on the fact that these kids are not pass­ing math, ig­nor­ing the fact that they beat av­er­ages across the state in ev­ery other area, and chalk­ing it up to stu­dents be­ing in­ca­pable or teach­ers be­ing in­ef­fec­tive will only make neg­a­tive im­pacts worse.

Teach­ers can’t help what level their stu­dents are at when they walk in the class­room on the first day, but they can help what level they’re at when they walk out on the last day. And, as the num­bers show, most of those last-day lev­els are higher than where they started.

So the goal should be to en­cour­age. Call out and rec­og­nize the weak points, but do so by en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents and teach­ers to in­crease what they’re do­ing well and to change what’s not work­ing.

Be­cause if a test is a recog­ni­tion of good or bad per­for­mance, what’s the point in try­ing to do bet­ter if the only recog­ni­tion is what you failed to do?

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