The Wake County school system is arguably being more honest about the new state test results than other school systems, particularly Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
In Wake’s press release, PowerPoint and press conference this morning, school administrators talked about how the district saw steady gains in the 2013-14 school year. Wake didn’t try to compare this year’s proficiency rates under the new lower requirements with what was in place in the 2012-13 school year to argue there were big gains.
Under the standards used for proficiency in 2012-13, Wake’s passing rate was 55.8 percent. Under the new state standards, Wake’s 2013-14 passing rate was 66.6 percent. Using the 2012-13 proficiency standards, Wake’s passing rate was 57.5 percent in the 2013-14 school year
Not only did Wake not talk about double-digit gains, administrators also recalculated the 2012-13 results using the 2013-14 standards for proficiency. That would have meant that the passing rate in the 2012-13 school year was 64.8 percent instead of 55.8 percent.
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“Wake County Public School System posted steady academic gains on multiple measures during the 2013-14 school year under the more rigorous standards that the state adopted two years ago,” said Brad McMillen, Wake’s assistant superintendent for data, research and accountability, at today’s press conference.
Now contrast Wake with what Charlotte-Mecklenburg did today.
On the CMS press release, it notes in the first paragraph that the “gains ranged from nine to 18 points” on the state exams.
“When comparing proficiency scores (last year’s scores for Levels 3 and 4 with this year’s scores for Levels 3, 4 and 5), CMS showed increases in every tested area,” CMS also says in the release.
On page 10 of the CMS PowerPoint, the district shows how much proficiency rates increased on each state exam between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school year. At the bottom of the page, if you know the abbreviations, it says L3 & 4 in 2012-13 and L3, 4 & 5.