MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama has released standardized test scores for Alabama schools, and education officials say the scores paint a picture of why students should be in the traditional school setting.

Students’ scores on the standardized tests have increased from last year. But some of the data points to students struggling, and education officials say some of that is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The numbers, from last year’s Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program tests, ACAP, show an increase in students scoring high enough to be proficient in math, reading, and science.

“We’re very encouraged because they are up in math and science and reading across the state. So our trajectory is definitely headed the right way,” said Dr. Eric Mackey, the State Superintendent of Education.

For all Mobile County Schools, about 41% of students are proficient in English Language Arts, a little more than 20% are proficient in Math, and 33% are proficient in Science.

In Baldwin County, 56% of students are proficient in English Language Arts, 36% are proficient in Math, and 49% are proficient in Science. You can see last year’s scores here.

Education officials argue that a lot of the gains come from students being in the classroom instead of learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s a clear correlation that the longer schools stayed closed down to in-person instruction, the lower the test scores were,” said Dr. Mackey.

But not all students are making gains, just 15% of economically disadvantaged students statewide are considered proficient. This is also a nationwide trend. But schools are working to help catch those students up, but need parents’ help.

“Schools have right now an unprecedented amount of resources in state funds to provide after-school and summer school programing. We’ve got to get parents to take advantage of that,” said Dr. Mackey.

The state will begin issuing the school letter grades, again, this year as they did before the pandemic. Those letter grades are expected to be out this November.

We reached out to the Mobile County Public School System about the test scores of their students, they released this statement:

In response to the recent data release, Mobile County Public Schools would like to “officially” respond as a district.  First and foremost, we applaud our students and teachers for the job they do each day in providing instruction to our students based on unique needs throughout the district.  These needs provided for daily vary in numerous economically and demographically and diverse environments.  Even with challenges, the district continues to see growth in academic achievement throughout the district. 

 As we are still recovering from the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked to address gaps created by this unprecedented time.  As in districts throughout the nation, our elementary students have been most impacted in the lower grades. In our kindergarten and first grade courses, students truly begin learning the foundations of reading and math. As a result of this unprecedented time, our students may have missed one or two years, thus missing that key instruction. However, we are prepared to combat this loss of instruction.  Our elementary teachers have been trained in innovative, multi-sensory programs that allow them to reach all students as well as close learning gaps as a result of the pandemic. Each of our schools has adopted a systematic approach to identifying learning gaps, especially those in the areas of foundational reading and math skills throughout the year. This allows us to effectively implement the Alabama Literacy Act. We also provide innovative summer literacy camps at each elementary school. During the summer, elementary students were invited to participate, and we encouraged our students to attend in an effort to support growth in critical literacy skills. Literacy camps also included instructional time during each day to develop foundational math skills to prepare for the implementation of the Alabama Numeracy Act. 

For middle school students, we have taken a similar approach, using data to drive our instructional decisions. We utilized ACAP Summative scores from previous years along with students’ grades and universal screeners to determine the needs of our students. At that point, students are given the appropriate supports based on their needs. For students who are missing foundational skills in reading and math, they are given small group and one-on-one instruction during the school day to help fill those gaps. Moreover, this allows us to continue to teach grade level standards in all subjects, so students do not miss instruction and may be successful.  

We have restructured our high school schedules to provide more time for teachers to teach core content.  Embedded intervention and ACT preparation target each student’s individual need. Data from previous test scores and student grades were used to help assign students to specific interventions or enrichment periods to help them achieve and support growth in all areas. To help place students in these specific courses, we provide students with universals screeners that help identify learning gaps. Additionally, our ACT Prep courses are specifically designed to meet the needs of our students to support test scores and subsequently growth for our district report card as ACT is used as an accountability tool. Each student is placed in a specific ACT Prep period based on his/her score on the Pre-ACT assessment given each year in 10th grade. These sections are fluid. As a student meets benchmarks set for each area, he or she may be moved to the next lowest scoring area. This specific approach helps target the needs of students on an individual basis.  

We also understand that our district is large and diverse. The teacher shortage is an issue that faces districts throughout our country and state. We are working to continue to hire and place trained individuals to meet the needs of all our students, providing incentives and implementing the 2022 MCPSS Teacher Recruitment Fair. This recruitment fair allowed us to bring teachers to our classrooms from all over the southeast region. We have hired teachers as well as instructional specialists, literacy leads, and coaches to support schools. These individuals work with teachers to help analyze data and make instructional decisions based on student needs. These highly trained educators also work to provide our teachers with professional learning opportunities, so our teachers are prepared to implement the most innovative and effective instruction, allowing all of our students to grow and meet their full potential.  

Again, we applaud our teachers and students for the job they do each day.  While we recognize the need for improvement, we also recognize the growth that is taking place and celebrate their successes as we know, taking a negative approach is not in the best interest of teachers, students, and the district as a whole. For example, according to the U.S. News and World Report, Council Traditional School is the top elementary school in Alabama, Eichold-Mertz School of Math and Science is #3 and Old Shell Road School for Creative and Performing Arts is #11. And among Alabama’s middle schools, Clark-Shaw School of Math and Science is #4, and Phillips Preparatory is #5.  

You can see the breakdown of the scores from each school in Mobile County here.

Mobile County TOTAL41.0520.6633.72
Alba Middle50.813.9445.63
Allentown Elementary53.4138.5955.2
Bryant High28.5715.7125.68
Austin Elementary61.7338.155.84
Baker High35.3125.6531.58
Barton Academy81.4651.6668
Blount High2.762.316.54
Booth Elementary55.7448.3760.71
Breitling Elementary48.7728.152.69
Burns Middle36.655.9525.17
Burroughs Elementary31.689.9429.79
Calcedeaver Elementary49.1430.1721.88
Calloway-Smith Middle24.636.1425
Castlen Elementary59.1141.3364.38
Causey Middle51.8123.8655.34
Chastang-Fournier K-821.913.218
Citronelle High17.6814.6321.34
Clark-Shaw Magnet81.334.6578.4
Collier Elementary60.0649.2647.06
Collins-Rhodes Elementary29.3710.999.09
Continuous Learning Center6.25012.5
Council Traditional81.7260.5567.05
Craighead Elementary27.1711.4127.42
Dauphin Island Elementary70.5967.6586.67
Davidson High42.2336.2447.14
Davis Elementary27.6722.9725.97
Dawes Intermediate73.0360.9168.6
Denton Magnet School of Technology73.8337.5463.11
Dickson Elementary40.2119.4934.62
Dixon Elementary40.4918.9350
Dodge Elementary38.614.9628.57
Dunbar Magnet62.7817.7242.22
Eichold-Mertz Magnet90.2168.9482.43
Fonde Elementary28.377.3922.22
Forest Hill Elementary25.311.1611.36
Gilliard Elementary33.627.5728.93
Grand Bay Middle41.1413.4741
Grant Elementary27.1213.5628.21
Griggs Elementary45.2417.2136.79
Hall Elementary13.338.1512.2
Hankins Middle36.0411.2927.8
Haskew Elementary45.6835.6853.95
Hollinger’s Island Elementary46.7730.6553.33
Holloway Elementary28.1910.7719.18
Howard Elementary281323.44
Indian Springs Elementary32.6910.6928.57
LeFlore Magnet8.262.469.84
Leinkauf Elementary25.9815.699.41
Lott Middle47.1717.1836.67
Maryvale Elementary20.198.216.41
McDavid-Jones Elementary45.3626.9836.15
Meadowlake Elementary31.4110.4232.79
Mobile County Training21.832.059.09
Mary G Montgomery High25.3814.6425.69
Morningside Elementary26.1314.938.22
Murphy High24.439.8118.11
N. Mobile County K-832.6914.4523.26
Old Shell Road Magnet81.1166.1168.33
Orchard Elementary18.612.9740
O’Rourke Elementary49.3935.1549.65
Phillips Preparatory86.7542.5682.82
Pillans Middle17.120.9413.23
B.C. Rain High7.063.494.65
Robbins Elementary40.152530.61
Scarborough Model Middle27.772.2320.48
Semmes Elementary60.2639.7462.03
Semmes Middle39.4212.1329.56
Shepard Elementary40.1517.9420.22
Spencer-Westlawn Elementary41.6218.6933.33
St. Elmo Elementary37.827.1129.09
Tanner Williams Elementary59.4234.7872.73
Taylor-White Elementary57.7340.4143.33
The Pathway12.941.0414.71
Theodore High17.379.7716.92
Turner Elementary52.1743.9164.2
Vigor High6.672.7512.04
Booker T. Washington Middle15.321.457.69
Whitley Elementary25.4113.2219.51
Will Elementary23.1112.9621.05
Williamson High15.052.778.88
Wilmer Elementary39.1128.5735.53
Percentage of Mobile County students proficient in each subject

For comparison, you can see the percentage of students proficient from all school systems in South Alabama below.

School SystemEnglishMathScience
Mobile County41.0520.6633.72
Baldwin County56.836.149.53
Clarke County33.9613.3522.2
Conecuh County33.6210.9718.06
Escambia County39.0517.0225.28
Monroe County31.2614.3625.52
Washington County45.0417.1930.93
Brewton City56.6639.1541.63
Chickasaw City32.247.9821.86
Gulf Shores City64.4441.9258.17
Saraland City72.0158.2763.5
Satsuma City55.4539.3148.84
Gulf Coast School Districts Proficiency Reports