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Career Center to focus on raising test scores

The Warren County Career Center plans to focus on raising student test scores in coming years.

Late last month, the Warren County School District board approved a three-year comprehensive plan for the career center. The document outlines areas of concern and how the center plans to address them.

The recurring issue listed is testing. Specifically, student Keystone Exam scores are an area of concern.

The root cause identified in the document is that students don’t view the exams as important because the state provides alternate pathways for graduation that do not require proficient exam scores.

In Pennsylvania, students must meet the requirements of one of five graduation pathways. Under the career and technical pathway, students do not need to score as proficient on Keystone Exams for algebra I, literacy and biology as required by some other pathways.

They only need a passing grade on courses associated with those tests and pass the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute or the National Institute for Metalworking Skills assessment.

The career center intends to address this by stressing the importance of the exams and improving remediation efforts for students not scoring as proficient. Specifically, the career center plans to provide a more structured remediation program and additional time for remediation as needed. Students scoring at the below/basic levels on their first attempt at the exams will receive a structured remediation program.

In the area of the English/language arts Keystone Exams, the career center has set a goal of a 38.15 percent increase in student performance over the plan’s three years. Each of the first two years has a 13 percent increase as a stated goal, with the final year set for the remaining 12.15 percent increase.

In the area of the algebra exam, the center has set a goal of a 39.5 percent improvement in student performance. Again, the first two years are set with a goal of 13 percent, with the final year set with a goal to represent the remaining 13.5 percent.

The other area of concern listed in the plan relates to the NOCTI or NIMS assessments required to graduate through the state career and technical pathway. Attendance was identified as a key factor impacting testing rates for students with disabilities on the cognitive portion of assessments.

The career center intends to monitor attendance on a bi-weekly basis, emphasize the importance of attendance on professionalism, utilize a school-contracted social worker and develop attendance improvement plans to help address the issue.

It has set a goal of a five percent per year improvement of attendance for students identified as having an issue for each of the plan’s three years, representing a 15 percent overall increase.

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