Test Scores Appear To Be Falling In Montgomery County Despite Claims From Powell & Board Chair

We recently highlighted Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell’s troublesome evaluation. His annual review was so terrible that Kentucky Department of Education insiders told us off-the-record that he should have been immediately removed by the board.

That’s all fine and dandy. A discussion for another day.

What stuck out the most to us was standard number six on his review:

Standard 6: Instructional Leadership (average score of 2.2 on a 0-4 scale)
Student achievement in the district has improved under Dr. Powell’s leadership as measured by ACT, PLAN and EXPLORE scores. More students are graduating high school college and career ready and the district graduation rate is improving. The Board is presented updates at each monthly meeting regarding student achievement. The Superintendent should consider additional resources in curriculum coordination. The Superintendent should regularly make time to be in each school during school hours to monitor instruction and provide support.

They claimed test scores had improved. But dig into this spreadsheet (Warning: External XLS file) and you’ll see that PLAN test scores actually fell. By a lot. A point drop is a huge deal for a school district.

The cumulative score of 16.6 for the high school is also lower than the 16.7 of Powell’s predecessor in 2010 and equal to it in 2009. It’s lower than the 17.2 in 2011 — one of the only scores Powell can realistically claim credit. It’s a huge drop from the 17.4 last year. A far cry from top ten.

Falling test scores like this, in the run up to the ACT, is typically bad news for a district. Which must be why these scores weren’t hyped up with the local newspaper.

These claims from Powell that Montgomery County is getting its money’s worth from a turnaround expert fall flat. Not only is the district hemorrhaging cash to pay for Powell’s legal bills, its test scores are falling significantly in short periods of time.