School System Earns High-Growth Status on ABCs
BY HANNAH SHARPE
The Moore County school system achieved a high-growth rating in preliminary ABCs of Public Education testing results released Thursday by the state.
All schools showed at least 60 percent of -students demonstrating proficiency on their end-of-grade tests in 2009-2010, according to data from the N.C. Department of Public Instruct-ion (NCDPI). Seventeen of 19 schools made "expected" or "high" growth for the year.
Pinckney Academy, Southern Pines Primary and Aberdeen Primary were not included in the results.
Overall, the system improved its scores from last year by 4.5 percent, earning "School of Progress" status systemwide.
The system also demonstrated equal or higher performance in all subjects assessed when compared with the 2009 average scores for N.C. schools. Average state scores for 2010 have not been released.
Superintendent Susan Purser said she is proud of the improvement demonstrated over the past year, but that her focus is to -continuously improve test results.
"I'm incredibly proud of the progress our schools are making," Purser said. "We've talked about it not being a sprint. It's truly a marathon. It's watching what's going on day to day. It's not about being good one day. It's about progress."
Aberdeen Elementary, Academy Heights Elementary, Highfalls Elementary, Southern Pines Elementary, Vass-Lakeview Elementary and Westmoore Elementary all met "expected" growth for the year.
Schools showing "high" growth were Cameron Elementary, Carthage Elementary, Pinehurst Elementary, Robbins Elementary, Sandhills Farm Life Elementary, Elise Middle, New Century Middle, Southern Middle, West Pine Middle, Pinecrest High and Union Pines High.
Academy Heights Elementary School had the highest proficiency in the system with 98.4 percent of students performing at or above grade level.
That school, along with Pinehurst Elementary, received "Honor School of Excellence" status for having between 90 and 100 percent proficiency and meeting target goals for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as a part of No Child Left Behind guidelines.
Aberdeen Elementary School had the lowest proficiency in the system but met its expected growth for the year. The school increased its percentage proficiency from 55.2 percent last year to 60.1 percent this year.
West End Elementary and North Moore High School both had high levels of proficiency, but received "No Recognition" status from the state because the schools did not make their growth projections.
West End Elementary School's proficiency went down from last year's percentage of 81.3 percent to 79.2 percent.
North Moore's proficiency went up from last year's percentage of 71.6 percent to 81.2 percent. The school's scores are comparable to the progress of the other county high schools.
Pinecrest High School had 82.1 percent proficiency, and Union Pines High School had 83.2 percent proficiency. Both schools received "School of Distinction" status for meeting expected growth and having 80 to 89 percent proficiency.
Schools could show progress and still receive no recognition because they do not meet projected growth rates determined by the state, school system spokesman Tim Lussier said.
"You can have growth, but you can still be no recognition because you've got to show the amount of growth that that formula requires you to show," he said.
Drew Maerz, director of testing and accountability for the school system, said that high schools also have other factors that affect expected growth.
"At the high school level, it's not just about test scores," Maerz said. "You have your EOC tests. You have the writing test pulled into there, which is different, but [ABCs] also measure your dropout rate and what type of diploma your high school students are graduating with."
Maerz said that the state prefers a higher rate of college-prep or college-tech prep graduates instead of graduates with a career track or an occupational course of study, which is generally a route for students with disabilities.
Purser said that the ABC results often do not convey a complete picture of a school's progress.
"I think they're very good results," Purser said. "But I would say that these results are just one piece of the picture because they're about test results, and I don't believe that schools should be judged by just their test scores. I think that there are other factors that need to be evaluated."
Purser added that even though she expects more progress, she knows that the system is far better off than the county's neighbors.
"Most of my colleagues would give a lot to have the results we have," she said.
The ABCs of Public Education is a statewide program that assesses individual student progress on end-of-grade tests implemented by NCDPI.
NCDPI uses a mathematical formula to determine growth by assessing the prior and current test scores of each student and school. Student performance composite and student growth are the two factors used in the assessment.
Performance composites show the percent of students demonstrating proficiency at or above grade level. Growth indicates the rate at which students learned over an academic year.
Students are expected to perform as well or better on end-of-grade tests than the previous year.
If the total growth for all students at a school is positive, then a school has met its "expected" growth. Schools that meet expected growth and at least 60 percent of students demonstrate growth over the year, then the school has met "high" growth.
The results assess performance in reading and math for grades three through eight and science for grades five and eight. High school results are based on end-of-course tests in algebra I and II, biology, English I, geometry, U.S. history, civics and economics, and physical science.
The test scores will not be finalized until the State Board of Education approves them in September.
Contact Hannah Sharpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story