State report card measures students, testing results

Sunday, January 28, 2018
Assistant Superintendent Karen Scoggins discusses results of the annual state report card on the school system Tuesday at the Bedford County Board of Education meeting.
T-G Photo by Jason M. Reynolds

Bedford County has nearly twice the number of non-native-speaking students as the rest of Tennessee, according to the latest state report card.

English Learner Students, as they are called, make up 9.7 percent of Bedford County students, Assistant Superintendent Karen Scoggins told the Board of Education Tuesday. That is out of 8,631 students enrolled last year. The statewide number is 5.3 percent. Languages vary from different Spanish dialects to Swahili.

The number of economically disadvantaged students is 33.5 percent, just above the state average of 34.7 percent, Scoggins said. That number can be misleading as the way the federal government counts the statistic has changed. The real number is closer to 70 percent, but the official number only includes students who receive some sort of benefit.

By the numbers

Students with disabilities make up 10.7 percent of the local student body, compared to 13.9 percent statewide. The definition includes cognitive, physical and diagnoses like Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Per-pupil expenditure is $8,072.40, much less than the state average of $9,957.80.

Last year, there were 566 teachers and 40 administrators in Bedford County public schools, the report card shows.

Testing results

The Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) test has experienced glitches the past few years. For the 2015-16 year, the state’s test composite scores did not include grades 4-8 for that reason. Going with limited available results, Bedford County’s scores for the test were at 1 out of 5 (with 5 being highest). Teachers and districts are evaluated by this system.

A blog, Tennessee Education Report, has been highly critical of TVAAS’s reliability.

“The rating formula is heavily skewed toward an unreliable statistical estimate of performance,” writes Andy Spears of the blog. “At best, TVAAS is a rough estimate of teacher performance. A fairly solid indicator that a teacher earning a ‘5’ is NOT a ‘1,’ but relatively meaningless otherwise.” More of Spears’ analysis is available at

In other testing news, results are available that track Bedford County students’ TCAP skills and progress (or achievement). There has been progress in all areas of science, Scoggins said. Algebra I has been a challenge: 67.1 percent of students are below proficient. Conversely, 59 percent are proficient in English I.

Tenure granted

In other business, the board approved tenure for the following teachers, by school:

Cascade Elementary: Jennifer Cook, fifth grade

Cascade High: Cynthia Pope, science; Susan Smithson, CTE health science; Rebekah Spresser, RTI ELA/psychology/theater; and Rachel Wilson, Spanish

Community Elementary: Benecia Chesnutt, special education, and James Yates Jr., fifth

Community High: Bradley Brown, English; Angela Cahill, guidance; Megan Lawell, CTE business; and Katherine Struk, art

Community Middle: Joanna Brewer, seventh grade math

Eakin Elementary: Amy McGee, Title I; Rachel Neill, Pre-K; Kaitlyn Rowland, fourth; and Stefanie Sloan, third

East Side: Allison Adcock, third; Melanie Bowen, special education; and Mark Raymond, fifth grade

Harris Middle: Patrick Hasty, assistant principal; Heather Nerren, Title I; Cedric Seay, title interventionist; and Nashika Trice, STEM

Liberty: Suzanne Sutton, seventh grade language/math, eighth grade language

SCHS: Christopher Fritz, social studies, and Tommy Green, CTE agriculture

Systemwide: Maria Reeves, speech pathologist