First Thoughts on NC School Report Cards
- The new Annual School Performance Report was released late last week
- Less than half of students in grades 3 through 8 scored as grade-level proficient in math and reading
- Disappointing ACT scores also signify low performance
North Carolina’s Annual School Performance Report was released late last week. Reporters and researchers will be pouring over the data in the weeks and months ahead because there is plenty to digest. After a quick review, several points stand out.
Only 35.5 percent of students in grades 3 through 8 met Career and College Readiness Standards for both math and reading. The number of grade-level proficient students in both math and reading (45.9 percent) increased slightly from last year (45 percent). In other words: less than half of all students in grades 3 through 8 are proficient in math and reading appropriate for their grade level.
A little more than a quarter of North Carolina’s 2,500 plus public schools all schools (26.3 percent) did not meet “Expected Growth Goals,”about the same percent as last year (26.4 percent).
While there have been improvements, what is troubling is the slow pace of improvement and a variety of similarly disturbing trends. Student proficiency in too many subjects continues to decline as students progress by grade level, improvement by low-performing schools is slow and despite many efforts, achievement gaps remain.
From 2016 Performance and Growth of North Carolina Public Schools, Executive Summary, September 7, 2017. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
The 2013-14 General Assembly created a program that assigned A-F grades to public schools based on an albeit imperfect formula that creates composite scores from a weighting of test scores (80 percent) and academic growth (20 percent). Composite scores are then translated to a 15- point grading scale (A =100-85; B =84-70 and so on).
How did public schools in North Carolina fare? The percentage of all public schools receiving an A or B grade increased from 29.4 percent in 2015-16 to 35.2 percent. The number of schools receiving D or F grade, declined from 22.9 percent in 2016 to 22.5 percent this year. If we compare traditional public and charter schools, charter schools had a higher percentage of A and B schools (43.5 percent vs. 35.2 percent), but also a slightly higher percentage of D and F schools (25.2 percent to 22.5 percent).
While this is interesting information, there are problems with the way North Carolina assigns grades to public schools. The shortcomings of the current formula have been pointed out numerous times. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the effect of the 15-point grading scale is to lower standards and lower the floor for failure. How else do you understand moving the cutoff off line for failure from 69 to 39 or less?
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and press reports have been quick to tout improvements in the state’s graduation rate. While it’s true the state’s four-year high school cohort graduation rate (86.5 percent) has increased for the 12th consecutive year, we’d be remiss if we ignored disturbing trends that are working to take the shine off that accomplishment. One of the stated goals of the new Common Core State Standards was to prepare students for careers and college readiness. The performance of North Carolina students on national tests is troubling. Less than 6 in 10 (58 percent) of students who took the ACT exam have met the SBE goal of a minimum ACT score of 17.
Student performance on individual ACT benchmark tests is also disappointing. This year’s scores are similar to last year’s within a percentage point or two. Still, less than half of students met the English benchmarks, 30 percent of students met math benchmarks and only 27 percent met science benchmarks.
The 2016-17 School Performance and Growth Scores offer some improvements, but the truth is progress has been slow – too slow for many — and significant problem areas remain (e.g., low performing schools and achievement gap).
Too many North Carolina students are failing to perform academically. Continuing to fiddle with a system that resists innovation and improvement is no solution. Charter schools and the new Achievement School District are two efforts designed to enhance educational performance. In addition, new school choice initiatives like Personal Education Savings Accounts and vouchers empower families to access the education that best fits their child’s needs. Such initiatives can greatly aid parents and also infuse a much-needed competitive impulse into a system that badly needs it.
North Carolina’s school performance grades need to improve. The stakes are high and our kids deserve better.
Top 10 most Literate cities in the U.S.
Minneapolis (tied for 1st)
Seattle (tied for 1st)
St. Paul, Minn.
Cincinnati (tied for 10th)
Portland, Ore. (tied for 10th)
Scott,this is the biggest left wing joke of the decade.Send us some information on how these were picked.I know you don’t have any information and I know you will ignore my question while you say I don’t answer your points.I answered this one.Most of these cities are high populations of blacks.Anybody that got past the third grade knows that the black population is not as literate as the white population.I know the first word you type will be racist which doesn’t bother me one tiny bit.Its not racist,it’s just a fact.
Atlanta and Cincinnati are in red states.
Katherine Cagle says
Educational progress is slow, but progress is happening in many schools. You can see the effects of poverty if you look at the poverty rate for each school and compare that to the final scores. I actually don’t put a lot of faith in the ability of multiple-choice tests to predict the success of students. Many elements of learning are not measured by these tests — creativity and innovative ability, ability to analyze and reason, mechanical reasoning, to name a few abilities not tested. These abilities are fully as important to successful students as the topics tested. We need to start boosting schools instead of tearing them down. I have no problem with charter schools but we need to remember that our country was built with public education. We take it down at our own risk.
Public schools have taken theirselves down.Colleges are turning out left wing teachers by the thousands.All they want to teach is social things.The schools need to get back to the three R’s.
There truly are ‘millions’ just like Larry and the Bible calls them LEGION.
Scott,where is the data on how these literate cities were chosen.I know this is one of CNN or Media Matters or a similar lying rag.Anybody with a brain knows the suburbs are where the literacy rates are higher than the inner cities.
Scott,why don’t you tell us what the heck you are talking about.There truly are ‘millions’ just like Larry and the Bible calls them LEGION.
For the fourth straight year, Washington, D.C. is the most literate city in the United States, according to a recent study on literacy. The study, by Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), examined how well Americans used their literacy skills in the nation’s largest cities. Rounding out the top five were Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
CCSU ranked the cities based on six categories: bookstores, residents’ educational attainment, newspaper circulation, use of online resources, the library system, and periodical publishing resources. The most literate cities were largely in the Northeast, and they generally had a well-educated and well-paid population.
The focus of the study was not on reading test scores, but on reading culture, explained Dr. John W. Miller, head of the study and CCSU president. “This isn’t about whether or not people can read, it’s about whether they do read,” Miller said.
Nobody but you and Scott are stupid enough to believe that.D.C has a high minority population.So,you two Gomers are telling me that they are more Literate than the white population.You two Gomers are either minorities or just STUPID.
Your bigotry is astounding!
Your stupidity is astounding.Are you really going to tell me the literacy rate is higher in the black population than it is in the white.You Al Sharpton types try to turn everything into race.I go on facts without any bad feelings toward minorities.