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Huxford shines in report

By By Paul Keane
Huxford Elementary School again outperformed and outdistanced public schools in the Atmore area based on scores from accountability reports released last week by the Alabama State Department of Education.
The reports covered the 2001-2002 school year, and Huxford Elementary again scored some of the highest grades among the five area public schools. Scores for Rachel Patterson were not available because nearly all of the tests used for accountability reports are given only to students in third grade and above. Rachel Patterson has students in kindergarten through second grade.
On the Stanford Achievement Test, students at Huxford performed well, wtih third graders earning a "C" in reading, "B-plus" in language and a "C-plus" in match. Students in four grade earned an "A-minus" in reading, an "A" in both language and match and an "A-minus" in science. Among fifth grade students, the grades were a "B" in reading and an "A-minus" in science. For sixth grade students, the grades were "A-minus" in reading, "A" in language and "A" in math.
In the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing 2002, the school as a whole scored a grade of "C" for Levels 3 and 4.
Huxford Principal Betty Warren said she was proud of both her students and teachers, and that some pre-planning a few years ago is paying off for her school.
"First, we have some very dedicated teachers," Warren said of the success in accountability reports and assessments. "Then, when we first started the push for assessments, we went online and studied the schools that had good assessments and scores in the testing areas that we were being tested in.
"Then, we called them and asked them what they were doing to be successful. Once we found that out, we began to duplicate those efforts in order to try and make our school assessments the best they could be."
Warren said there is also plenty of preparation taken, both with assessment tests and with all aspects of the learning process.
"We do a lot of practicing," Warren said. "We found out that the way a lot of our teachers ask questions are not the way they are worded on the assessment tests. We began to change the way we practiced for those tests, and we got a lot of practice materials to use.
"It's like with the spelling words that are used on the tests. Traditionally, our teachers used to call them out, but then we found out that on many of the assessment tests, you have a choice or three or four words and you have to pick out the right word. We made some changes in the way we were teaching and practicing in order to prepare our students for these tests."
At A.C. Moore Elementary, grades were not much lower.
Among third grade students, grades of "C" in language, "C-minus" in math and "D-plus" were recorded. For fourth grade students, grades of "C" in reading, "C-plus" in language, "C" in math and "C" in science were recorded.
Students were not tested in the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing 2002, as that test was only administered to students in fifth and seventh grade.
At Escambia County Middle School, grades showed some improvement over the last grading period.
In fifth grade, marks of "D-minus" were handed out in both reading and science. In sixth grade, a "C-minus" was earned in reading, a "C" in language and a "C-minus" in math. In seventh grade, a "C-minus" was earned in reading while a grade of "C-plus" was earned in science.
Among eighth grade students, grades of "C-minus" were earned in reading, language and math while a grade of "C" was earned in science.
In the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing 2002, 88.5 percent of fifth grade students passed while 89.4 percent of all levels passed in seventh grade.
At Escambia County High School, 72.5 percent of the 109 students tested in the Alabama High School Graduation Exam 2002 passed, earning a grade of "F." In the ACT Test 2002, 49 students were tested, earning an average score of 19 for a grade of "D-plus."