School scores ‘average:’ reports keep local schools out of trouble

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 18, 2003

There’s always room to improve education &045;&045; especially in this part of Alabama. But when academic accountability scores were released this week, educators in Marengo County felt an ounce of satisfaction in how their students performed.

On the SAT10 standardized test, the Demopolis system tested in the 46th percentile and has a "clear" academic status.

Luke Hallmark, superintendent of the Marengo County School System, also said he was pleased with the performance of his schools. While Marengo County isn’t ranked as an academically "clear" school, they are not close to being a "priority" school &045;&045; the ranking for those schools performing the poorest.

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For any educator, that’s the normal mantra. For instance, John Essex high school seniors were listed as "priority" because of the number of students who didn’t pass the graduation exit exam. However, as Hallmark explained, the number can be misleading.

The Marengo County School System, as a whole, finished in the 37th percentile. That number is far clear of the 29th percentile mark, which places a school system under the "priority" label.

In Demopolis, the numbers were a little better. U.S. Jones finished in the 41st percentile and Demopolis Middle School finished in the 52nd percentile. (Those were the only numbers available on the report.)

Hill said having the SAT10 numbers are beneficial because he can use them to spotlight areas of concern within his system.

Hill said the information he obtains from the test results helps him focus workshops and training sessions for his teachers.

The Linden City School System, like Marengo County, was placed under the academic "watch" status. Linden City ranked in the 33rd percentile. Specifically, Linden Elementary ranked in the 33rd percentile and George P. Austin Junior High School also placed in the 33rd percentile.

Superintendent Walter Davis could not be reached Friday for comment.