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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: AUGUST 7, 2008


More than half (55.2 percent) of North Carolina's public schools posted high academic growth in 2007-08 as measured by the state's ABCs of Public Education accountability model, according to results presented to the State Board of Education today. Another 26.8 percent earned expected academic growth under the model.

Academic growth is calculated by comparing students' academic performance from year to year and comparing that growth to what was typical in prior years across the state.

Teachers, principals, other certified school staff and teacher assistants receive incentive awards based on their schools' growth designation.

This year, awards will be provided at the amounts of $1,053 per certified staff at schools earning high growth designations. Certified staff at schools meeting expected growth will receive awards of $527.

For teacher assistants the amounts are $351 for high growth and $263 for expected growth.

Traditionally, these amounts have been higher - up to $1,500 for high growth and $750 for expected growth for certified staff; up to $750 for high growth or $375 for expected growth for teacher assistants. This year, the state's budget law capped the amount of money that can be spent on incentive awards at $94.3 million. To stay within this cap, the State Board of Education had to adjust the incentive award amounts by 29.8% for all recipients.

Funds to pay the incentive awards will be provided to local school districts and charter schools in the next few days for distribution.

Academic growth calculations for this year are based on growth in mathematics only for schools with kindergarten through grade 8. This one-year change is in response to the new reading assessments and the necessary adjustments to the reporting calendar as a result. Typically, growth calculations are based on both reading and math results. For this reason, this year's growth results should not be compared to last year's results.

For high schools, growth is calculated by comparing student performance on designated end-of-course tests with previous student performance on related assessments. In addition, improvement in high school dropout rates and participation in college university prep or college tech prep courses of study are factored into the determination of growth for high schools.

North Carolina's ABCs model includes three categories of academic performance indicators – growth from year to year (reported today), the schools' performance composite and Adequate Yearly Progress (required under the federal No Child Left Behind law). The growth measure is important because it provides incentives for making sure that every student, regardless of his or her level, continues to grow academically. The performance composite shows the percentage of student test scores that are at or above grade level proficiency. AYP, which factors in reading and math scores and attendance for grades 3-8 and English I, grade 10 writing, and Algebra I scores and four-year graduation rates for high schools, indicates the percentage of student groups performing at the proficiency level. Complete information on all three measures will be presented at the State Board of Education's Nov. 6 meeting.

For more information about the growth designations or North Carolina's accountability model, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communications office, 919.807.3450 or access the Web at AYP results reported by school for the entire state are here. Results can be accessed online at

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.