Durham schools' scores up a little, still miss goals

Staff WriterJuly 21, 2011 

— More students in the Durham Public Schools are performing at or above grade level, but the system still lags behind goals, according to preliminary testing data released Wednesday.

"While these scores indicate progress, we still have work to do," Superintendent Eric Becoats said.

The state ABCs of Public Education program determines whether students are meeting proficiency standards and measures individual schools' performance from year to year.

Overall, DPS is below the state standard for proficiency. The state standard is determined by the federal "No Child Left Behind" goal of 100 percent proficiency by the 2013-14 school year.

DPS reported 55.8 percent reading proficiency for third through eighth grade in 2010-11. The number rose 0.8 percentage points from last year, but it is well below the state's 71.6 percent goal for this year.

The scores for math were better, up 1.8 percentage points to 70.4 percent, but still below the state's goal of 88.6 percent.

This year the state raised its goal from 43.2 to 71.6 percent in reading and from 77.2 to 88.6 percent in mathematics for third to eighth grade. The goal is next scheduled to rise in 2013-14, when it will jump to 100 percent in all subjects.

DPS reported that 78 percent of schools met their expected growth in student learning this year.

Even the "low performing" schools, like Chewning Middle School, increased in growth from last year.

According to Becoats, DPS prefers to focus on the student growth in learning, rather than their proficiency.

"We want all students to grow, and as you continue to grow and as students continue to make progress they will be proficient or become proficient if they aren't already," Becoats said.

Also Thursday, school officials announced the district's graduation rate is now 73.9 percent, up 4 percent from 2009-10.

The statewide rate is 72.8 percent, according to a news release.

lanadouglas@newsobserver.com or 919-932-2008

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