For immediate release
Nov. 7, 2013
North Carolina Public Schools Post Strong Academic Growth;
Higher Standards Mean Fewer Students Marked Proficient
More than 71 percent of North Carolina public schools met or exceeded academic growth expectations in the 2012-13 school year, according to the first READY
Accountability report today presented to the State Board of Education. In addition, test scores dropped as expected in the first year of more rigorous standards.
Results were provided for the end-of-grade and end-of-course tests as well as the complete accountability model measures. Data for the schools, districts and state can be accessed at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/. The information provided is more detailed than in the past and includes a user’s guide and technical notes to assist users.
“Students today are expected to solve problems and to use knowledge in new ways,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We have raised standards for students because we want them to be ready for anything they choose to do after high school.
That means doing more to prepare them for the competitive challenges of college and careers.”
State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey noted that the Board expected today’s results. “It is not a surprise that our marks are lower this year,” he said. “When parents see this information in their students’ score reports, I encourage them to recognize that their child has not lost ground, but that he or she is being measured against a much more difficult standard.”
Schools and districts have 30 days to provide individual student score reports for parents to review. Because standards were new in 2012-13, there is no impact on students or schools. There also are no school grades or designations during this transition year.
North Carolina’s new model continues a long-standing practice of reporting both academic growth rates and also the percentage of students who scored proficient on state assessments. Growth reflects the progress students made during the course of the school year. It is quite possible for a student or a school to have a strong pattern of academic growth and to also have many students who may not have scored proficient or above on state tests. Some students begin school or a particular school year behind their peers and will need to achieve very significant academic growth in order to meet proficiency standards by the end of the grade or course. Also, standards are much higher now than in the past, which makes it more difficult for some students to reach proficiency levels.
In terms of academic growth, 687 schools or 28.6 percent, exceeded expected growth. A total of 1,027 schools or 42.7 percent, met expected growth. That leaves
691 schools or 28.7 percent that did not meet growth goals.
On the end-of-grade and end-of-course tests, student proficiency rates ranged from
34.2 percent proficient on eighth grade mathematics to 59.1 percent proficient on eighth grade science. Results from the state’s new assessments align more closely to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results, generally considered to be the Nation’s Report Card of record for public schools. NAEP’s 2013 results also were released today and are available online at ncpublicschools.org under News.
2012-13 Statewide Performance Results
41.0 Reading EOG
Math Course Rigor
58.5 (Met UNC System minimum of 17)
Indicators in the state’s READY accountability model include:
• End-of-grade assessments in reading, mathematics and science
• End-of-course tests in Biology, English II and Math I
• The ACT – the percentage of students meeting the UNC System minimum admissions requirement of a composite score of 17 or greater.
• Math Rigor – the percentage of graduates taking and passing high-level math courses such as Algebra II or Integated Math III.
• ACT WorkKeys – the percentage of concentrator graduates who were awarded a
Silver Level Career Readiness Certificate based on ACT WorkKeys assessments.
• Graduation rates – four- and five-year graduation rates.
- Graduation Project – schools are recognized for requiring students to complete a graduation project.
North Carolina has had a school accountability program since 1996, but in 2012-13 the state strengthened its accountability model and launched the READY initiative to overhaul the Standard Course of Study, student assessments and school accountability. Today, all three are aligned to career- and college-readiness standards.
The end-of-grade and end-of-course test scores that are at the heart of today’s accountability announcement are the result of tests that were given for the first time in 2012-13. Over the summer, more than 200 classroom teachers worked with a third party vendor to identify performance levels that match up to each of the four achievement levels for student performance. Students receive a score of
Achievement Level 1, 2, 3 or 4. Levels 3 and 4 are considered to be proficient or better.
For more information about the specifics of the new READY accountability model, please review the READY Background Brief at www.ncpublicschools.org
Highlights or contact the NCDPI Communications division at 919-807-3450.