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Reeves: Graduation exam scores higher than state averages

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A video presentation based on test scores from the 2004-05 Alabama High School Exit Exam left Hartselle School Board members pleased with the performance of Hartselle High School students but open to changes that would lead to even higher achievement.
The scores along with faculty recommendations for improvement were highlighted on screen for the board's benefit at its Jan. 9 meeting. Principal Jerry Reeves was the presenter.
Reeves said all 10th graders took the exit exam for the first time in March 2005. Of that number, 85 percent passed the reading section compared to 74 percent statewide; 79 percent passed the language section compared to 68 percent statewide; 89 percent passed the science section compared to 76 percent statewide; 70 percent passed the math section compared to 64 percent statewide; and 80 percent passed the social studies section compared to 61 percent statewide.
"The scores of our 10th grade students compare very favorably with those at schools in our area as well as statewide," Reeves said, "and the passing rate for our 11th and 12th grade students is exceptional. Our teachers do a good job of making sure that their students are well prepared when they take the exit exam.
"But there is always room for improvement. We hold department meetings to review and analyze the results. Then, we take steps to improve in those areas where we are weakest."
In some cases little can be done without a curriculum change, he said.
"In math, for example, 75 percent of the test is algebra and 25 percent geometry. We don't offer geometry until the junior year so you can't expect a 10th grader to do well on geometry questions when he hasn't taken the course." Reeves stated. "I'm not trying to promote an agenda for curriculum change but a pre-algebra requirement at the junior high level would benefit students in high school."
Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed acknowledged that several areas of the school system's curriculum are going to have to be looked at to make sure the junior high and high school are working hand in hand.
Board member Jeff Gray recommended the implementation of a single course of action to improve math scores.
"If we had a sequential program in place for grades 6-12, our students would benefit," Reeves said. "We can do better in math and we're committed to it."