The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools had about the same percentage of students doing grade-level work last year, according to a state report released Thursday, while roughly 2 percent more Orange County Schools students were performing at grade level.
The results showed similar or higher proficiency rates for white and economically disadvantaged students in both districts. More black students scored proficient on grade-level work in the county schools than did in 2014-15.
The state report was based on several test results and other measures, including end-of-grade and end-of-course proficiency tests and graduation rates.
The report noted that 76.6 percent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro students tested proficient in grade-level work last year, compared with 77 percent in 2014-15. Just over 70 percent were reported to be college and career ready in 2015-16, and the four-year graduation rate was largely unchanged at 90.1 percent.
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Interim Superintendent Jim Causby said the district is pleased with the results. The school board will receive a full report Oct. 20.
“This is a wonderful testament to the great work of our teachers and the tremendous support of our parents and community,” Causby said. “However, the data shows that we still have plenty of room for improvement. We will come back to work tomorrow, and the next day, striving to help every student reach maximum potential.”
The Orange County Schools had 62.2 percent of students rated proficient last year, compared with just under 60 percent in 2014-15. However, just over half – 53 percent – scored high enough to be considered college and career ready in 2015-16.
The county school system’s four-year graduation rate was 89.3 percent, up from 88 percent in 2014-15.
Orange County Schools officials noted in a news release that the district rose from 36th to 27th in the state rankings this year. There are 115 public school districts in North Carolina.
“I am very proud of our students and staff for their hard work and dedication as well as their openness to change,” Superintendent Todd Wirt said. “While we are encouraged by the gains we have made, we are more focused than ever on improving academic achievement for all of our students and working toward closing of achievement gaps that have persisted for too long.”
The state’s READY accountability model evaluates how students perform on certain tests and the rates at which they are learning from year to year. The results are charted on a five-level scale that show how well they are prepared for college or a career after graduation.
Level 1 indicates a limited command of the material, while Level 3, 4 and 5 are considered grade-level proficient. State and federal standards, however, rate anything below a 4 as not on track to be college or career ready.
Orange County’s two charter schools reported achievement scores in line with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools. There are no Chapel Hill-Carrboro district charter schools.
Orange Charter School reported that 78 percent of its students tested proficient in grade-level work, while 71 percent scored at a college and career ready level. Nearly 81 percent of students at The Expedition School tested proficient in grade-level work. About 72 percent were reported to be college and career ready.
The state also assigned schools A-F letter grades based on their overall achievement score – about 80 percent of the value – and for a year of student academic growth. A score of 85 or better is an A.
Only 6.5 percent of schools statewide earned an A or higher in 2015-16, while 24.4 percent earned a B and 41.7 percent earned a C. Roughly 70 percent met or exceeded their goals for student growth, the data shows.
Two Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools – East Chapel Hill High and Glenwood Elementary – earned an A-plus, down from three in 2014-15. That means they earned an A and did not have significant achievement or graduation gaps between student groups.
Carrboro High School fell this year from an A-plus to a B, joining 13 other city schools. Carrboro High was among four city schools that exceeded their growth expectations, however. The others were East Chapel Hill High, McDougle Middle and Morris Grove Elementary.
Carrboro Elementary rose from a C in 2014-15 to join 10 other district schools with a B last year; the elementary school also was among 11 schools meeting their goals for student growth.
Northside and Frank Porter Graham Elementary were the only schools to earn C grades last year. Northside also was among three schools, including Seawell and Estes Hills elementary schools, that did not meet their goals for student growth.
Just over 65 percent of Northside students tested proficient for their grade level, while Estes Hills reported that number at 73.5 percent. Seawell Elementary had 81 percent of students testing proficient at their grade level.
None of the Orange County Schools, for a third year, earned an A from the state. Four schools earned a B – Cameron Park and Hillsborough elementary schools, and Cedar Ridge and Orange high schools – up from two in 2014-15. Eight schools earned a C.
Three county schools exceeded their goals for student growth – Cedar Ridge High, and Cameron Park and New Hope Elementary – down from five in 2014-15. Eight schools met their goals, meanwhile, and one – A.L. Stanback Middle – did not.
Stanback reported its lowest testing scores in eighth-grade reading and math – 39.4 percent and 43.1 percent of students, respectively, were identified as college and career ready.
Both Orange Charter and The Expedition School earned B grades from the state. Orange Charter also met its goals for student growth, while The Expedition School did not meet its goals.
Both districts reported higher proficiency rates for white and economically disadvantaged students taking end-of-grade and end-of-course tests. Proficiency rates fell slightly for black CHCCS students, but were roughly 3 percentage points higher for black county students.
Nearly 90 percent of white Chapel Hill-Carrboro students were proficient in grade-level work last year, compared with 40.9 percent of black students and 40.2 percent of economically disadvantaged students. That’s compared with 90.2 percent of white students rating proficient in 2014-15 vs. 41.9 percent of black students and 39.1 percent of economically disadvantaged students.
Roughly 73 percent of the county’s white students scored proficient in test results last year, compared with 38 percent of black students and 42.6 percent of economically disadvantaged students. The district’s numbers are up from 70.3 percent of white students rated proficient in 2014-15, 34.7 percent of black students and 38.5 percent of economically disadvantaged students.