County’s elementary students improving but high schoolers need help, superintendent says

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The latest TNReady test results for Shelby County Schools show students are improving in some areas but definitely still have a long way to go.

Scores from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System show students are improving their skills across the district, especially in literacy and science. A level one is the lowest score, level five is the highest and level three is at grade level.

Overall, 46 Shelby County Schools earned the high growth score and 24 schools went from level one to level five in a year.

But the growth’s mostly seen in grades 3 to 8. High schoolers were at the lowest growth rate level in all subjects.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in our high schools," SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said. "The average student is not graduating college ready.”

Hopson says the district is working on strategies to change that.

“This year, we invested in a number of reading specialists in 15 of our lowest-performing high schools, because kids get to high school and they don’t have the comprehension down, they don’t have the fluency down.”

But he says he still wants to celebrate the improvements with SCS elementary and middle schools.

Hopson says investing in reading literacy, putting reading specialists in classrooms and investing in pre-K has helped, and the growth in some schools shows promise.

Larose Elementary, for instance, went from having less than 5 percent of students at the right English level to about a third of students this year. At AB Hill, they’ve seen the number of students at the right English level triple.

“I think we’re starting to see the results of that, but again we’ve got a very, very, very long way to go," Hopson said.

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