ABCs of Public Education
Growth and Performance of
North Carolina Schools


Executive Summary

Background

The State Board of Education developed the ABCs of Public Education in response to the School-Based Management and Accountability Program (SB 1139) passed by the General Assembly in June, 1996. The ABCs focuses on strong accountability with an emphasis on high educational standards; teaching the basics; and maximum local control. An accountability model for elementary and middle schools was implemented in 1996-97 (the high school accountability model was developed during 1996-97, and will be implemented for the first time in 1997-98). This report gives the results of the 1996-97 implementation of the ABCs in the elementary and middle schools of North Carolina.

 

The ABCs Accountability Model for K-8 establishes growth standards for each elementary and middle school in the state. Schools that attain specified levels of growth are eligible for incentive awards or other recognition (including Schools of Excellence, Schools of Distinction or Top 25 Schools in Academic Growth). Those whose growth and performance fall below specified levels are designated as low-performing. Outcomes are based on data collected during the 1996-97 school year and one previous year (for reading and mathematics) and two previous years (for writing in grade 4). To be eligible for incentive awards, schools also must not have excessive exemptions and must test at least 98% of their eligible students.

 

Participating schools

In 1996-97, every school containing one or more of the grades 3-8 and collecting the requisite data for reading, mathematics and writing participated in the ABCs. In addition, K-2 schools sending more than half of their students to a single receiving school are eligible for incentive awards if the receiving school receives an incentive award based on meeting its growth standard.

 

Analyses

The status of schools was determined based on the values of composite scores computed for expected growth, exemplary growth, and percentage of students at or above grade level. The expected growth composite is based on three factors: statewide average growth, the previous performance of students in the school, and a statistical adjustment which is needed whenever test scores of students are compared from one year to the next. The exemplary growth composite factors in an additional ten percent above the statewide average growth. Growth composites are based on two years of data for reading and mathematics and three years of data for writing. (Three years of writing data were available for grade 4, but not grade 7, in 1996-97. Therefore, only fourth grade writing contributed to the growth composites in 1996-97.) The performance composite (the percentage of students scoring at or above grade level) is based on all data available for the current year. Consequently, the 1996-97 scores for all students in reading, mathematics and writing are used in the performance composite.

 

Definition of Awards and Recognition Categories

Schools have been classified into several categories for the purpose of incentive awards and recognition. The award or recognition a school receives is determined by the schoolÕs attainment as reflected in the growth composites (expected and exemplary) and the performance composite. The categories are defined as follows.

 

Schools of Excellence

A School of Excellence is a school that meets its expected growth standard and has at least 90 percent of its students performing at or above grade level. Such schools will be recognized at a statewide banquet sponsored by the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction in September, 1997. They will receive a dated banner to hang in the school and a certificate. In addition, they will receive a financial award.

 

Schools of Distinction

A School of Distinction is a school that has at least 80 percent of its students performing at or above grade level (but does not qualify as a School of Excellence). Distinguished schools will receive a plaque and a certificate.

 

Top 25 Schools in Academic Growth

These schools have attained the State's 25 highest values on the exemplary growth composite. They will be recognized at the statewide banquet in September, 1997. In addition, they will receive a dated banner to hang in the school, a certificate and school incentive awards.

 

Exemplary Schools

Exemplary Schools are those that attain their exemplary growth standard. They will receive a certificate and school incentive awards.

 

 

Schools that Meet Expected Growth Standards

Schools that attain their expected growth standard (but not their exemplary growth standard) will receive a certificate of recognition.

 

Low-Performing Schools

Low-Performing Schools are those that fail to meet their expected growth standard and have less than 50% of their students performing at or above grade level.

 

In addition to the growth and performance standards, there are testing requirements that all schools must meet. Schools must test at least 98% of their eligible students. (Students who are individually exempted from testing in accordance with guidelines for North Carolina testing programs are not considered "eligible.") In addition, schools must not have excessive exemptions.

 

Schools that violate either of the testing requirements are not eligible for incentive awards. In addition, schools that violate the testing requirements for two years may be designated as low-performing.

 

Presentation of Results

The results are presented in the form of several lists that address the various components of the ABCs Accountability Model for K-8. These lists include: (1) a listing of school performance, by LEA; (2) a listing of schools, identified as Schools of Excellence, by LEA; (3) a listing of schools identified as Schools of Distinction, by LEA; (4) a listing of the Top 25 Schools in Academic Growth in the state; (5) a listing of schools, identified as making exemplary growth, by LEA; (6) a listing of schools, identified as making only expected growth (not exemplary), by LEA; and, (7) a listing of schools, identified as low performing, by LEA-these schools are also sorted separately by the growth composite and by the performance composite.

 

The appendix lists K-2 schools in North Carolina that do not feed more than 50% of their students into a single receiving school. There also is a list of schools that were excluded from the results and statistical analyses because they had insufficient numbers of students to calculate stable growth composites. (Such schools were not included in the Accountability Model for K-8.)

 

Statistical Summary of Results

There are 1,630 public schools in North Carolina serving one or more of the grades 3-8, including special schools (hospital schools, alternative schools, ungraded schools and those serving students with disabilities). To this number were added 47 K-2 schools that fed more than 50% of their students into a single receiving school in 1996-97. From this total of 1,677 schools, 45 were excluded because they had insufficient students to compute a stable growth composite (less than 15 students). The statistical summary below is based on the remaining 1,632 schools.

 

ABCs Results

     

Award or Recognition Category

Number of Schools

Percent of Schools

     

Exemplary Schools

531

32.5

Schools Meeting Expected Growth (not Exemplary)

395

24.2

Schools Receiving No Recognition

583

35.8

Low-Performing Schools

123

7.5

     

Total ABCs Schools

1632

100.0

 

 

In addition, the following numbers of schools received special recognition. (These categories may overlap categories in the above table.)

 

 

Schools Receiving Other Recognition

     

Category

Number of Schools

Percent of ABCs Schools

     

Schools of Excellence

12

0.7

Schools of Distinction

158

9.7

Top 25 Schools in Academic Growth

25

1.5

     

 

 

Overall, 56.7 % of the schools met either expected or exemplary growth standards.

12/2/97