Local schools showed little change Wednesday when the state released several testing reports, including end-of-grade and end-of-course proficiency rates.
The overall passing rate for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools – measuring students doing grade-level work – remained at 77 percent. The graduation rate held steady at just under 91 percent.
The Orange County Schools’ passing rate remained at just under 60 percent. The graduation rate improved from 86 percent in 2013-14 to 88 percent in 2014-15.
This was the state’s third year under its READY accountability model designed to show how well students are prepared for college or a career after graduation. (See more, nando.com/24c)
The state assesses college and career readiness on a five-level scale, with Level 1 indicating a limited command of the material. Level 3, 4 and 5 scores are considered grade-level proficient. State and federal standards rate anything below a 4, however, as not on track to be college or career ready.
The goal is to evaluate how students perform on certain tests and the rates at which those students are learning from year to year.
Statewide growth slipped in 2014-15 to 72.3 percent of schools meeting or exceeding their growth target. In 2013-14, 74.7 percent of schools statewide met or exceeded growth goals.
Durham schools passing rate remained at about 44 percent. The percentage of Wake students passing their tests inched up, from 66.6 percent in 2013-14 to 67.6 percent in 2014-15.
Three Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools earned an A-plus last year – Glenwood Elementary, Carrboro High and East Chapel Hill High – which means they earned an A but did not have significant achievement or graduation gaps between student groups. All three schools exceeded expectations.
Chapel Hill High School earned an A, while seven elementary schools and four middle schools earned a B, and three elementary schools – Carrboro, Frank Porter Graham and Northside – earned C’s.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Superintendent Tom Forcella said the schools will keep working to bring everyone into the A and A-plus categories.
“While the letter grades have been a controversial measurement since their inception, we are pleased that our schools are receiving good marks,” he said.
The biggest concern, district spokesman Jeff Nash said, is that higher-performing schools don’t grow complacent.
Forcella “doesn’t want people to read their own headlines and think that they’re great,” Nash said. “His point is all this data that you’re looking at today shows that our top-end students are doing a great job. Well, how come our bottom-end students are doing the same as Durham?”
“When you get those scores to raise, then you can stand on the rooftops,” Nash said.
Two elementary schools earned a B in the Orange County district, while four elementary schools, three middle schools and Cedar Ridge and Orange high schools earned a C. Efland-Cheeks Elementary earned the district’s only D, with a 44.6 percent passing rate, down from 49.7 percent in 2013-14.
The Expedition School was the county’s top charter school, with an A grade, while Orange Charter earned a B.
This is the second year that state testing results were translated into A-F letter grades based on a 15-point scale. Roughly 80 percent of the grade is based on a school’s overall achievement score; the remainder is based on a year of student academic growth. A score of 85 or better is an A.
The state delayed plans to switch to a 10-point scale, which would have dropped many schools by a letter grade.
Local results also continued to show a wide achievement gap. White students attending Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools achieved a 90 percent passing rate, compared with about 40 percent of black students and 40 percent of economically disadvantaged students.
White students in the county schools scored lower – a 70 percent passing rate – but still outpaced black students and economically disadvantaged students, who had passing rates of about 35 percent and 38.5 percent, respectively.