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Posted Saturday, February 7, 2015
Pittsboro, NC - North Carolina’s first School Performance Grades were released at the State Board of Education meeting today. According to the release, 65.4 percent of elementary and middle schools across the state earned a grade of C or better. For high schools, which have additional indicators of career and college readiness included in their grade, 88.8 percent earned a grade of C or better. In Chatham County Schools, over 80 percent of the 16 schools eligible for a School Performance Grade received a designation of C or better. 100 percent of Chatham County high schools earned a grade of C or better and 76 percent of middle and elementary schools earned a C or better. SAGE Academy falls under the Alternative Accountability Model.
Chatham County Schools are reporting 5 schools designated with a B, 8 schools designated with a C, and 3 schools designated with D grades. 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. This formula has been the topic of much concern throughout the educational community in North Carolina. Essentially, the formula only takes into consideration two measures of performance. Good evaluation systems consider multiple indicators of school performance. Chatham County Schools’ administration, faculty, and staff urge parents and community stakeholders to consider the myriad achievements, initiatives, and efforts that go into making our schools excellent. “100 percent of Chatham County Schools Met or Exceeded growth expectations for 2013-2014, which confirms that a significant number of our students are moving in a forward direction. The current formula minimizes this important indicator and does not fully underscore its impact on student achievement. For example, had the formula weighed growth more heavily as initially discussed, all but one of our schools would have received an A or B, and the one C school would have only been one point away from a higher grade”, commented Superintendent Dr. Derrick D. Jordan.
School Performance Grades are included on the North Carolina School Report Cards (www.ncpublicschools.org/src) under the School Performance Section. Each school’s academic performance page includes the school’s performance grade and student performance on other key academic measures. K-8 schools also receive a separate letter grade for reading and math performance.
“One letter grade cannot reflect all of the positive things happening in a school. It’s important for parents 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,” Atkinson said.
Although this is the first year of School Performance Grades, North Carolina has had school-based accountability since 1996. The end-of-grade tests have been given to elementary and middle school students since 1993. These scores reflect only the second year of the READY accountability model with its strong focus on career and college readiness and its more rigorous standards.
There are a number of materials available online to help explain the School Performance Grades including a Background Brief and responses to Frequently Asked Questions. These documents can be accessed on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website – www.ncpublicschools.org – under Highlights.