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North Carolina releases elementary and middle school ABCs results

Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006

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Chatham County, NC - North Carolina has released preliminary results from the ABCs accountability program pending State Board of Education approval. The testing data is from grades three through eight in the 2005-2006 school year.

Bennett School, North Chatham School, Perry Harrison School, and Silk Hope School had testing performance composites in the eighty percent range. As a result each of these schools earned School of Distinction status.

Chatham Middle School, Horton Middle School, J.S. Waters School, Moncure School, and Pittsboro Elementary School had testing composite scores ranging from 63.2 to 73.5 percent. As a result each of these schools earned School of Progress status.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction indicates that, because of the new mathematics test, the 2006 ABCs results should be considered the baseline year for the new ABCs and comparisons should not be made to last year's results. Officials had prepared schools for the fact that overall score ranges could fall from the eighty to ninety percent range to the sixty to seventy percent range in 2006.

High school ABCs data was released on October 5. Chatham Central, Jordan-Matthews, and Northwood all made Expected Growth and earned School of Progress status.

SAGE Academy earned High Growth and is measured under a different model because it is an alternative school that served eighth through twelfth grade students in 2006.

“We are pleased that thirteen of our fifteen schools met expected growth and four of our schools met high growth. We have room to improve and will continue to look for resources that we can add to our ongoing efforts to improve student achievement,” said Dr. Ann Hart, Superintendent.

Chatham County Schools uses several specialized reading and mathematics programs; aligns pacing guides with the N.C. Standard Course of Study to support teachers in lesson planning; has created quarterly reading and mathematics assessments for diagnostic feedback that teachers use to guide instruction; has after school tutoring; and sponsors a spring Saturday Academy for academically at-risk students. Experienced teachers in the district plan and design the pacing guides and quarterly assessments for elementary and middle school students.

When the State Board of Education set the new mathematics end-of-grade scores on October 12, Board members noted that they were making the decision to raise standards in mathematics. This represents the first time that accountability standards have been raised in this way since 1993 when the first mathematics end-of-grade tests were introduced. Under the new standards, the percentage of students considered to be proficient ranges from sixty-one percent (eighth grade) to sixty-nine percent (third grade). The impact of raising the standards will mean that students taking end-of-grade tests in third through eighth grades will now have to answer more questions correctly than were previously required.

The elementary and middle school ABCs results were released later than in previous years due to two factors. First, new mathematics end-of-grade tests had to be given to students before the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Accountability Services division could do the analyses needed to set cut scores for the achievement levels. Secondly, a contracting difficulty delayed work by the companies that helped perform some of the analyses. These factors caused the state to move the original elementary and middle school ABCs release date.

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