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Osbourn High Falls Short of State Accreditation Standards

Low math tests scores and inadequate graduate rates hold Osbourn High back from full accreditation by the Virginia Department of Education.

The only Manassas City public school not fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education this year is Osbourn High School, which received a warning because of low math test scores and inadequate graduation rates, Manassas City Public Schools board members were told Tuesday night.

David Lyon, the division's executive director of accountability and assessment, gave board members the results of a state performance evaluation that is part of the annual Virginia Schools Report Card every school division and school receive.   The report card charts the progress of schools in raising student achievement and enhancing the learning environment. The ratings for school accreditation are based on the achievement of students on tests taken during the previous academic year.

The high school showed a graduation rate of 83 percent last year, just below the state benchmark of 85 percent. However, last year’s rate is well above the 80 percent reported in the 2010-2011 school year. Osbourn won accreditation, but with a warning, which is short of full accreditation, Lyon said.

“We are pretty confident we are moving in the right direction and we will meet the state graduation benchmarks,” Lyon said. “Things are improving.”

The district will be significantly challenged to improve math scores which fell far below the state averages this year. The district showed passing rates of 39 percent for the Algebra I test (state average 75 percent) and 41 for the Algebra II exam (state, 69 percent). The passing rates were also below the benchmark of 70 percent.

The passing rates for the math content area were down dramatically from last year. However, the drop may be part of the new rigor and difficulty of those achievement tests, Lyon said.

The good news is that the seven other schools in the 7,100-student system won full accreditation from the state. For example, both Round Elementary School and Weems Elementary School met all their Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) that are required under the federal No Child Left Behind education reform law. Schools that don’t meet their AMO—which measure student achievement—are required to submit improvement plans. Virginia obtained a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind law provisions earlier this year.

SAT Scores

The city schools scored lower than the state SAT averages in math, reading and writing, according to 2012 test data that was part of the report Lyon delivered to the board. City students taking the SAT exams scored 494 in math, below the U.S. average of 514 and the Virginia average of 512 during the 2011-2012 school year, the report said.

They scored 485 in reading, under the national average of 496 and the state average of 510. The city’s SAT writing score came in at 475, lower than the national average of 488 and the state average of 495.

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