NEW SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY MODEL FOCUSES ON CAREER AND COLLEGE READINESS
Ask parents what they want for their children after high school graduation and they will tell you for him or her to be prepared for life's next step. North Carolina public schools' new accountability model, which goes into effect this school year, focuses on measures of career and college readiness so that the school community can see clearly how many students are prepared for what lies ahead after high school graduation.
State Superintendent June Atkinson said making sure students have the academic skills to choose whatever path they want to follow is critical for high school graduates.
"I know there are high school freshmen who already know which college they want to attend, whether they will go into the military or if they will be working in their parents' business, and so they take the courses that will make that happen," Atkinson said. "But there are just as many students who aren't sure about what they want to do after graduation. Our new accountability model focuses on what students need in order to be successful after high school – regardless of how their plans unfold."
In K-8 schools, the focus remains on student academic progress and growth. Students in the third through eighth grades will continue to take end-of-grade assessments in English language arts and mathematics, and in science at the fifth and eighth grades. The assessments are new and aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the Essential Standards that comprise the state's new, more rigorous Standard Course of Study.
The high school accountability model has the most changes. To gauge whether students are career and college ready, five new indicators have been added to the high school accountability model:
- Math Course Rigor - the percentage of students taking and passing high-level math courses such as Algebra II or Integrated Math III and higher.
- ACT Performance - the percentage of students scoring well enough to have a 50 percent chance of getting a B or higher in their first credit-bearing college course.
- WorkKeys Performance – for Career Technical Education concentrators (students who have earned four CTE credits in a career cluster), the percentage of concentrator graduates who were awarded a Silver Level Career Readiness Certificate based on the three WorkKeys assessments.
- Graduation Rates - The percentage of students who graduate in four years and five years.
- Graduation Project - Schools will receive credit if they require students to complete a graduation project.
These measures are in addition to student performance on the three required end-of-course assessments: Algebra I/Integrated Mathematics I, English II and Biology.
School performance under the new accountability model will be reported in new ways in the fall of 2013. For the first time, a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F will be applied to each public school. The grades are required by new legislation approved during the General Assembly's 2012 short session. Technical details regarding the A-F grading system are still being finalized.
"Graduating students career and college ready must be our top priority from the first day students enter our public school doors. Our new accountability model will help ensure that we recognize our strengths and where we need to improve," Atkinson said.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 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.