High school improves ACT scores with peer tutoring
Hazard High School (HHS) has implemented a new strategy concerning ACT and PLAN test scores — and it seems to be working well.
Donald Mobelini, principal of HHS, presented the school’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) I to the Hazard Independent School Board at its monthly meeting on Thursday, which included the new strategy.
“They (the state) measure your growth from your PLAN test, which you take as a sophomore, to your ACT test, which you have to take as a junior. Actually, if you look at that, we played the game backwards the first time,” Mobelini said.
The ranking system the state uses measures how much better a student does on the actual ACT test compared to how they performed on the PLAN test, a practice ACT test. Mobelini said he and other school administrators worked too hard on getting the PLAN test scores up to begin with last year, which meant there was little to no room for students’ scores to grow once they took the ACT, leading to a less than stellar ranking among schools in the state.
“We were like 216th on the growth chart, and that’s not acceptable. We’ve never done that at our high school, but it’s like we didn’t really know what we were doing,” he said.
This year, Mobelini, along with math, English, and science teachers from the high school, came up with a plan utilizing ACT test prep books supplied by the school to have the juniors who were doing better on their ACTs tutor those who were not.
“We assigned these kids every day during sixth period second semester, two days a week, they had two or three different kids that they tutored. Not only had their scores, but the kids’ scores that they tutored improved,” Mobelini said.
Mobelini said in some cases scores improved by as much as six points for the math portion of the test. The school plans to continue with this strategy for as long as it shows such good results, possibly even expanding the amount of tutoring offered since it has been so beneficial to both those being tutored and doing the tutoring.
In other business, the board approved two pay applications to McKight and Associates for the renovations for Hazard Middle School and for Roy G. Eversole Elementary School.
Joseph Clark, an architect with the firm Clotfelter-Samokar, presented the board with an update on construction at both of the schools.
“In Walkertown (Hazard Middle School), we’ve got a situation where we’re trying to get the girl’s toilet facilities up and running … by April 29, which will be the day they start their testing,” Clark said. “Once school has let out, we will tear into the administrative suit and get that area renovated, and Walkertown will be complete.”
The elementary school has only six rooms left to have new windows installed, Clark added the new windows provide not only comfort and quiet to the classrooms by muffling outside news and temperatures but also a nicer aesthetic to the building.
Superintendent Sandra Johnson said parents and students would not need to worry about construction during state testing as workers will halt construction during testing times.
“If they work, they’ll come in at night or on weekends,” she said.
The board also had the second and final reading of a physical restraint and seclusion policy, approving adoption of the policy without making any changes. The policy requires that a team of core trained personnel be at each school to take over if a student ever needs to be physically restrained or secluded from the school’s population for any amount of time for safety reasons.
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