Stuart-Hobson Celebrates Best Student Performance in DCPS for Reading and Math



When the unofficial numbers started to come in during the June testing window, the teachers and administrators at Stuart-Hobson could see that their students performed well, but it wasn’t until DCPS released the official numbers in August that they realized how much better their students performed than at all other DCPS Middle Schools.

The first results to come in were from the Scholastic Reading Initiative (SRI) test. All DCPS middle school students took this Reading test at the beginning of the year, and based on their performance, each student then received a personalized growth target to achieve by the end of the year. These targets represented an estimated one-year’s worth of growth in Reading for that particular student. Nine months later the students took an end-of-year SRI test to see how much they grew during the 2014-15 school year.

When the Reading results came in for this year, staff members reviewing the data knew right away that this year’s results were different. In the 2013-14 school year, 62% of Stuart-Hobson students achieved their SRI growth target, putting the school well ahead of the district average for Middle Schools, and a close second to the students at powerhouse Alice Deal Middle School. This year however, nearly 78% of Stuart-Hobson students achieved their SRI growth target, making them the number one school by far and a full 7% higher than Deal MS, 12% higher than the MS average, and an astonishing 28% higher than Hardy MS in Northwest DC.

The reading numbers weren’t the only cause for celebration however. Just after the school received their reading numbers, they were even more blown away by their students’ math performance. This year, 86% of Stuart-Hobson students achieved their Math growth targets, as measured by the iReady Math assessment. This again placed Stuart-Hobson students at the top of DCPS, but even more astonishing was that this rate was 30% higher than that of Deal MS, 31% higher than the MS average, and 23% higher than Hardy MS. Indeed, the average student at Stuart-Hobson achieved over two years’ worth of growth in Math in the 2014-15 school year, with 25% of students averaging closer to three years’ worth of growth.


Why are the growth numbers important? In the past, student proficiency rates, not growth rates, were used as the primary data to judge how a school and its students perform in Reading and Math. Reporting solely on proficiency creates an “apples to oranges” comparison, since students at different schools start the year at greatly different levels. Proficiency scores at the end of the year often reflect that difference more than the true effect of a year’s worth of learning at the school.

Growth numbers however, are a much better measure for judging how your school and its students are performing. Since students are tested at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, we can examine the level of growth for each student. This gives us a great measuring stick to judge school effectiveness, and the Capitol Hill community should celebrate that they have the best performing Middle School of the city.

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