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Children learn better in classrooms

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | May 5, 2021

news@breezenewspapers.com

Kids learn better in school classrooms, data collected by the School District of Lee County shows.

Although distance learning proved to be effective in some areas, numbers presented to the School Board of Lee County last week pointed towards the “face-to-face” model showing the greatest gains in student proficiency as measured by the number of students showing a satisfactory or higher level of achievement.

District officials, though, concede that no group of students — regardless of whether they are attending classes on campus, or taking part in one of the two distance or remote learning options, Lee Home Connect (LHS) and Lee Virtual School (LVS) — is performing to a level the district would have hoped for pre-pandemic, officials said.

District-collected data shows that more than half of students in grades K-10 falling below proficiency levels in language arts going into the last quarter of the school year.

District numbers for mathematics, kindergarten level through geometry, showed nearly 60 percent of students failing to achieve proficiency in the third quarter.

The data showed that district-wide, for kindergarten through 10th grade, students in English Language Arts, only 36 percent of students were “proficient” for quarter one. That number jumped to 48 percent on April 9 for quarter three.

The state considers proficiency to be a student score of 3 or higher on the FSA and EOC, the two state assessments.

The state uses a five-tier ranking with levels 3 to 5 marking satisfactory, proficient or a mastery level of achievement for grade level subject matter.

Levels 1 and 2 are below the proficiency level. Children determined to be at level 2, below satisfactory, are “likely to need substantial support for the next grade or course.” Children determined to be at level 1, inadequate, are “highly likely to need substantial support for the next grade or course.”

This means that, according to the data, with one quarter yet to go, district-wide, for kindergarten through 10th grade, 52 percent of students had not achieved proficiency in English Language Arts.

With April instruction completed, and May still to go, officials expect numbers to improve, especially at the K-second grade level where students are not expected to be proficient until the last two weeks of the school year, officials said.

“The Reading progress monitoring that is reflective in this data is from the end of March,” district officials said via email. “This is still early in the year, as students have an additional 11 weeks to master standards for proficiency. This is very relevant for students in K-2, as these students are not expected to be proficient until the last two weeks of the school year, which is when they will complete their end of year progress monitoring.”

Data was also given for mathematics, kindergarten through geometry, with district-wide data showing 24 percent proficient for quarter one, 32 percent for quarter two and 41 percent for quarter three.

The data was further broken down for students enrolled in face-to-face instruction for all three quarters with 24 percent proficient for quarter one, 32 percent proficient for quarter two and 42 percent proficient for quarter three.

LHC students showed 21 percent proficiency for quarter one in mathematics, 32 percent proficient for 43 percent proficient for quarter two and 48 percent proficient for quarter three.

Again quarter one was incomplete for LVS, and quarter two showed 42 percent proficiency for mathematics and 50 percent proficiency for quarter three.

“We know that nationwide we saw a greater dip in mathematics than English Language Arts,” Secondary Teaching and Learning Director Candace Allevato said, adding it is because math so skill specific and students missed all of the fourth quarter last year due to the pandemic. “They missed a quarter of content that builds on each other year after year. That was our greatest opportunity of opportunity.”

She said they saw a growth of 17 percent proficiency district-wide and 21 percent gain for the face-to-face model.