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Students surpass expectations in benchmark results

Johnson County School officials discuss benchmark results that came back higher than expected. Despite hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic and missing educational time, students scored similarly to the previous year. There are two more benchmark tests in early 2021. Online photo

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Johnson County Schools expressed concern from virtual midterm results earlier this month. Now, as part of the officials’ five-year plan, details from the “District Annual Improvement Plan will be shared with the Board of Education.” Data shows that Johnson County surpassed its expected results during the first benchmark testing of this school year.

This plan revolves around three district goals. The first goal is to improve literacy in all students. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox emphasized the importance of literacy skills by naming them as “the building block of learning.” Goal two focuses on closing the “achievement gap” through enhancing literacy and math skills in students with disabilities. The last goal affects all grades and has to do with improving ACT performance. School officials employed CER (Comprehensive Educational Resources) to help achieve these goals.

Teachers and officials expected testing scores to be quite a bit lower than last year’s results because of the struggles associated with COVID-19, including upsetting pacing goals, so students may not have learned materials included in the test. Test officials used data to create a Projected Percent Proficient number per grade per subject related to state testing. These scores reflect if these students would score proficient if tested today. According to Dr. Stephen Long, testing officials say anything over 30 percent is excellent. Johnson County’s elementary and middle school students did well in math, with fourth, fifth, and seventh graders exceeding 30 percent, sixth-graders scored slightly below, and third and eighth-graders were closer to 20 percent.

“There are some reports that I can’t share with you formally,” said Dr. Stephen Long. “They’re still somewhat embargoed. The Superintendent Study Council is still reviewing them, but it has how our students did up against students from eight or nine other districts that use this same benchmarking tool. I can tell you it was really encouraging.”

There are two more benchmarks in students’ futures, one in January and one in March. Officials have high hopes for results. View Johnson County School Board meetings live or archived on its Youtube channel, Johnson County Schools TN Video. For more information about Johnson County Schools, visit