Four Laurel County schools received a five-star rating on the 2018-2019 test scores, while others scored in the top 100 schools in the state. The new scores are based on testing on reading and math proficiency and education gaps among minority, low-income and special education students with test scores ranked from one to five, with five being the highest rating.
Sublimity Elementary led the scoring with an overall total of 84.6, placing 11th in the elementary schools across the Commonwealth.
Falling just three-tenths points below was Hunter Hills Elementary with a score of 84.3, and placing that school as number 13 in the state.
Hazel Green and Bush Elementary rounded out the five-star schools in the county, with Hazel Green's score at 82.1 and Bush's score at 79.7. Those two schools placed 22nd and 32nd, respectively.
Under the state's new testing system, elementary and middle schools could reach a maximum score of 188.8. None of Kentucky's schools achieved that score, but Sublimity and Hunter Hills elementary schools did make the Top 10, according to the score tally on the Kentucky Department of Education's website.
The highest score in the elementary bracket was Murray Elementary at 95.8. Knox County's G. R. Hampton Elementary and Corbin Intermediate School also made the list with Hampton scoring 88.5 and Corbin Intermediate scoring 86.1. Jefferson County elementary schools scores occupied the entire 10 lowest scoring elementary schools.
Johnson, Keavy and London elementary schools all achieved a four-star rating and had scores that placed them in the Top 100 elementary schools across the state. Johnson came in at 44, while Keavy and London were ranked at 71 and 87, respectively.
The remaining elementary schools in the county fell into the three-star rating, but their lower scores put them into the section below the top 100. Those rankings are based on the state's 725 elementary schools.
North and South Laurel Middle Schools reflected scores of 73.8 and 66.6. Those scores placed NLMS in 21st place, while SLMS was rated 110.
Corbin Middle School ranked in the Top 10 of the middle school category with a score of 74.6.
The KDE reports that there are 319 middle schools across the state, although some schools that have K-12 may have been counted more than once in the overall tally.
High schools across Kentucky could have reached a maximum score of 123.5 - but again, that score was not achieved by any school in the state.
There was only a four point difference in the scores of the two local high schools, with SLHS scoring 68.4 to NLHS's 64.4. South was rated in the 80th spot in the state's high school scores, while NLHS got the 122nd spot.
Jefferson County's duPont Manual had the highest score among Kentucky's high schools with 97.4.
There are 228 high schools included in the testing process.
The East Bernstadt School district earned two four-stars on their test scores for the previous year. Both East Bernstadt Elementary and Intermediate schools scored 72.7. That placed the elementary school in the spot at 143, while the middle school score placed it in the 35th spot.
Factors considered in the five-star system are called "indicators" and include the following criteria, according to the Kentucky Department of Education:
• Proficiency in reading and mathematics
• Student performance on science, social studies and writing tests
• Growth based on a comparison of student scores from one year to the next in reading and mathematics. It also includes the progress of English learners on an English language proficiency exam that includes speaking, listening, reading and writing in English.
• Graduation rates for students who graduate from high school in four or five years. (High school indicator only)
• Transition Readiness that gives students flexibility on how they demonstrate academic or career readiness. Students can pursue both. This also includes the English language proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing.
• Academic readiness by meeting a benchmark score on a college admissions exam or a college placement exam, earning a grade of C or higher on six hours of KDE-approved dual credit classes, scoring 3-plus on two Advanced Placement classes, scoring 5-plus on two International Baccalaureate classes, meeting benchmark scores on two or more Cambridge Advanced International exams, or completing a combination of the indicators listed above.
• Career Readiness by receiving an industry certification approved by the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, scoring at or above the benchmark on career and technical education end-of-program assessments, earring a grade of C or above on six hours of career and technical education dual credit, completing a KDE/Labor Cabinet approved apprenticeship or complete a KDE-approved method of demonstrating exceptional work experience.
Other factors that can affect a school's rating, according to the Kentucky Department of Education, include the achievement gap. Those factors are based on comparisons of economically disadvantaged to non-economically disadvantaged, African American as compared to Caucasian, students with disabilities compared to students without disabilities and English learners compared to non-English learners. In those situations, a significant gap in a school with a four- or five-star rating will be decreased by one star.