By Matthew Saari

Whitehall Central School jumped 15 spots in a ranking of regional schools.

Every year, Albany Business Review publishes a ranking of Capital Region public school districts. The publication collates data from the state Education Department’s School Report Card data and uses a weighted system to determine rankings.

“The overall score…is a weighted tabulation that takes into account five categories: language and reading; social studies; science; math; and a graduation score that measures graduation and dropout rates, and the percentage of graduates with advanced Regents diplomas,” reads the publication.

The data used in this ranking is drawn from the 2018-2019 academic year.

Whitehall was ranked 53rd, up from 68 last year.

“I’m certainly pleased we went up,” said Whitehall school superintendent Patrick Dee. “Anytime we see an increase in scores that certainly gives us pause to celebrate.”

For the 2018-2019 school year, 43 of 50 seniors graduated, equating to an 86% graduation rate. Of those, 13, or 26%, attained an advanced Regents diploma.

The remaining metrics are derived from state testing data. For English Language Arts (ELA), which is administered to grades 3-8, 38% of Whitehall students earned a “proficient” ranking.

Hurting Whitehall’s overall score is the math test results. For the grade 3-8 testing, only 18% achieved a “proficient” score.

Dee remains leery of putting too much stock in the state’s ELA and math tests, however, noting that parents have the option of opting their children out of the tests and those that do are typically higher performing students.

“It’s not like we’re building widgets where the raw materials are the same year after year,” said Dee.

As cases in point, 91% of Whitehall students achieved a proficient ranking on the state Regents exams for English while 97% were proficient in Algebra and 100% were proficient in Geometry.

“Any increase we do see…is directly related to the commitment of our faculty and staff,” Dee said.

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