NEWS RELEASES 2006-07
COMPLETE ABCS RESULTS RELEASED; RIGOROUS STANDARDS REFLECTED IN RESULTS
A total of 54.2 percent of North Carolina's K-12 schools made expected or high academic growth under the North Carolina's school accountability model, the ABCs of Public Education, according to the 2005-06 ABCs of Public Education accountability report approved by the State Board of Education today.
This year marks the first year for new standards under the 10-year-old accountability system.
"Today's results mark the beginning of a new cycle of accountability for North Carolina," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "The State Board of Education has set a higher standard for academic rigor to help our students be prepared for the 21st century competitive world."
Results outlined today are similar to those from 1996-97, the first year of the ABCs model for grades 3-8. The percentage of students scoring at Achievement Level III (proficient) or above in reading ranged from 83.1 percent for sixth grade to 90.5 percent for fifth grade. For mathematics, the range was 61.2 percent proficient at grade eight to 68.7 percent proficient in grade three.
"The math curriculum is more rigorous and challenging and so are the tests that measure it," said State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee. This is the first time that North Carolina has reset standards since our state began the accountability program. We believe it is essential for schools to raise expectations to help every child be prepared."
In addition to the more difficult curriculum and assessments, other changes mark the 2005-06 year. It is the first year for the new ABCs growth formulas approved by the state education board in 2005. The new formulas - developed after the General Assembly directed the State Board of Education to complete a thorough evaluation of the ABCs standards - address a number of concerns raised at that time. This year also is the first time that the standards for the mathematics test have been changed significantly. Because this year's ABCs results are based on new formulas and the results of new math assessments, state school accountability officials cautioned against comparing results to previous years.
In the 2005-06 school year, 64 K-12 schools (2.7 percent) earned a designation of Honor Schools of Excellence, the highest category of performance. Honor Schools of Excellence also met the federal requirement of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in addition to having met at least Expected Growth and having 90 percent or more of their students' test scores at or above the proficient level.
Five schools (.2 percent) are Schools of Excellence, which means that they met at least Expected Growth and had 90 percent or more of their students' test scores at or above the proficient level.
A total of 305 schools (12.9 percent) are Schools of Distinction, which means that they met at least Expected Growth and had 80-89 percent or more of their students' test scores at or above the proficient level.
A total of 729 schools (31 percent) are Schools of Progress, which means that these schools met at least Expected Growth and had 60-79 percent of their students' test scores at proficient or better.
Seven hundred and thirty-six schools, or 31.3 percent, are No Recognition Schools. These schools did not meet their Expected Growth goals even though they had 60 percent or more of their students' test scores at the proficient level or better.
Three hundred and forty-six schools, or 14.6 percent, are Priority Schools – schools with less than 60 percent of their students' test scores at the proficient level or better and making Expected Growth or High Growth and schools that have 50-59 percent of students' test scores at the proficient level or better regardless of growth.
Forty schools (1.7 percent) had no ABCs status because they are special schools.
The ABCs program provides incentive awards to teachers, principals and other certified school-based staff, in addition to teacher assistants. In all schools that attain the High Growth standard, certified staff members each receive up to $1,500 incentive awards and teacher assistants receive up to $500. In schools attaining Expected Growth, certified staff members each receive up to $750 and teacher assistants receive up to $375. This year, funds for incentive awards will be released to local school districts as soon as possible after today's release with the goal of districts being able to provide the incentive awards in December to all staff who earn them.
Assistance plan to be discussed in December
This year, 54 schools (2.3 percent) were identified as Low-Performing Schools. These schools have significantly less than 50 percent of their students' test scores at the proficient level or above and did not make Expected Growth or High Growth.
The NCDPI's Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and School Reform Services Dr. Elsie Leak will bring a plan for providing assistance to low-performing elementary and middle schools to the Board in December.
High school AYP targets
Adequate yearly progress (AYP) is a performance measure required by the federal No Child Left Behind education law. Each state must set AYP targets for the percentage of students proficient on state tests. Under federal law, each state's ultimate goal is 100 percent proficiency by 2013-14. AYP requires measuring progress on these targets by groups of students — a very rigorous standard. Among North Carolina's schools, 45.2 percent (1,043) of the state's 2,310 schools with an AYP status met AYP. The standard required for meeting AYP this year was 76.7 percent for reading (K-8) and 65.8 for (K-8) math. The math target was adjusted in October when the State Board of Education raised standards passing the math end-of-grade assessments. The target for 10th grade reading/language arts was 35.4 percent and for 10th grade math it was 70.8 percent.
The ABCs accountability model measures school achievement in two primary ways: the percentage of students' test scores at or above the proficient level (performance composite) and whether the school has met academic growth expectations from one year to the next. The growth measurement provides the basis for awarding incentive awards, but both measures are important indicators of schools' success over time.
The tests used for ABCs accountability purposes — the end-of-course and end-of- grade assessments — include the assessments used to determine Adequate Yearly Progress and for the state's student accountability standards.
For more information about the 2005-06 ABCs report, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communications division at 919.807.3450. The complete ABCs report is available online at http://abcs.ncpublicschools.org/abcs.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.