On Thursday, September 1, the 2015-16 Performance and Growth of North Carolina Public Schools report was presented to the State Board of Education. A full breakdown of WCPS Accountability can be viewed by clicking on Data Tables
. In a snapshot, the report states:
- The district’s four-year Cohort Graduation Rate is 83.8%, compared to 85.1% the previous year. This is a decrease of 1.3% over the past year, but is still the second highest rate ever produced by WCPS. The state’s Cohort Graduation Rate is 85.8%, a .4% increase from the previous year.
- 23 of 32 schools (71.9%) met or exceeded expected growth, compared to 24 schools the previous year.
- Based on a 15-point scale, the following School Performance Letter Grades were received: One A (85-100), Two B’s (70-84), Thirteen C’s (55-69), Thirteen D’s (40-54), and Two F’s (Less than 40) compared to One A’s, Two B’s, Thirteen C’s, Nine D’s, and Four F’s the previous year.
- More than 95% of WCPS graduates earned Math Course Rigor by successfully completing a Math III course, which was the same as the previous year.
- 49.8% of WCPS 11th Grade students who took the ACT earned at least a 17, the UNC system minimum score, compared to 51.3% the previous year.
- 85.5% of WCPS students, who are Career & Technical Education concentrators, earned a Silver certificate or higher on the ACT WorkKeys assessments, compared to 83.3% the previous year. WCPS is ranked 8th out of 115 school districts statewide for this achievement.
- 20 schools (60.6%) increased its percentage of students who performed at the College and Career Ready level, compared to 19 schools the previous year.
What is the READY school accountability model?
Four years ago, North Carolina transitioned to the READY school accountability model, replacing the ABCs model which has been in place since the mid-nineties. The READY accountability program uses more rigorous standards and assessments in order to better assess how prepared students are for college or the workforce. More rigorous tests and new accountability standards have changed how performance is measured for the End of Grade and End of Course test scores across all curriculums. In last year’s accountability report, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction began reporting the percentage of students who are College and Career Ready and release School Performance Grades.
How are School Performance Grades calculated?
As required by state legislation, the School Performance Grades are based 80 percent on the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth. Elementary and middle schools’ achievement scores are based only on test scores. These include end-of-grade reading and mathematics tests at the 3-8 grade levels; and end-of-grade science tests at grades 5 and 8, and if applicable, end-of-course tests in Math I.
The high school achievement score is based on student performance on Math I, English II and Biology end-of-course tests, and on the percentage of students who score 17 or above on The ACT (UNC System’s minimum composite score requirement), the percentage of students who achieve a Silver Certificate or better on the ACT WorkKeys, the percentage of students who successfully complete Math III, and the school’s four-year cohort graduation rate.
What is Academic Growth?
Academic Growth is a valuable indicator of the school’s impact on a students’ learning. A student’s academic growth is calculated using his or her achievement scores from state end-of-grade assessments. While a single achievement score is a reflection of a student’s performance at a single point in time, a student’s academic growth charts his/her performance over multiple points in time.
“As educators, it is our job to receive students where they are and move them forward,” states Dr. David Lewis, WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Technology, Accountability & Testing. “Academic growth, as it is reported in this accountability report, essentially provides a measure of a school’s ability to do just that.”
Should parents be concerned if their child’s school has a low School Performance Grade or lower academic scores?
One letter grade cannot capture all of the positive things happening in a school. Parents are encouraged to talk to a school’s principal and teachers and to look at all of the school measures reflected in the North Carolina School Report Cards to determine how their child’s school is doing in comparison to others in the district and across the state.
How is the district working to improve academic performance in schools?
“Our teachers and staff are working tirelessly to bring out the best in our students and schools,” states Dr. Michael Dunsmore, WCPS Superintendent. ”While there are certainly successes across the district that we can tout, we recognize that there is much work ahead of us in order to make Wayne County Public Schools a leader of education, innovation, and school reform in North Carolina.”
District leaders state that the district will analyze the accountability, school performance and growth data in order to develop plans for school and district improvement.
“This data is highly valuable in determining strengths and areas of weakness from across the district,” states Dr. Michael Dunsmore, WCPS Superintendent. “At the classroom level, teachers will use the data to assess individual students in order to more personalize their instruction. School leaders will use the data to assess teachers and identify broader school improvement strategies. At the district level, my administrative cabinet along with their staff will dig deep into the data, identify strategies for improvement, and then assess current instructional programs and professional development opportunities to ensure we have the best supports in place for our teachers.”