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Our Latest Rock Star: Muhlenberg North Middle School

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 -- Scott Sterling

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards. That transition hit Muhlenberg North Middle School in Greenville, KY, particularly hard. After the 2011–12 school year, the school found itself ranked in the 38th percentile statewide and classified as “Needs Improvement” by the Kentucky Department of Education.

Muhlenberg North had been a partner of Study Island for many years, but it decided to expand its use to improve student outcomes under the new standards, relying on the program for predictive analysis that helped the teachers see which students were at risk in time to remediate them. In the two years since, the school is now in the 86th percentile and 0.7 proficiency points away from the top classification of “distinguished.”

Muhlenberg Middle School Rock Star Ceremony

Muhlenberg North curriculum specialist Kelly Melton shares some insights about what has led to the school’s quick turnaround.

At MNMS, what’s the process for the diagnostic testing that feeds the predictive analysis?

Ms. Melton: Students take the diagnostic test early in the school year so we can see strengths and weaknesses in relation to the standards. From there, instruction is given, and assignments are completed in Study Island. Then, the post test is given to check for growth. It also indicates the student’s level of proficiency. Study Island has been amazingly accurate with its prediction of proficiency level in regard to K-PREP [Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress] scores.

Any idea just how accurate Study Island’s predictions are?

Ms. Melton: One of our science teachers, Carlos Tatum, took it upon himself to compare how his students were rated in Study Island and compare them to what actually happened on the K-PREP. In 2012–13, the system projected that 80 percent of his students would reach proficiency—77 percent actually did, along the way identifying the students that were most at risk. In 2013–14, Study Island was again only 4 percent away from K-PREP’s findings.

How much credit would you give Study Island for the current success of the school?

Ms. Melton: I believe Study Island has helped us find the weak spots and allowed us to focus on those areas to see growth in our students. I know that the diagnostic test/post test is extremely accurate as far as proficiency prediction on our state tests. They have been spot on each year we have done the analysis. Our school has seen growth over the past few years, and I believe that our teachers would say that Study Island has helped them prepare our students for the future

For more about how Muhlenberg North Middle School laid the groundwork for continued success with Study Island, check out the whole success story.