Public schools in Wake County and across North Carolina are lucky the state is using a 15-point scale for the first year of the new A through F school performance grades.
Because of the scale, the number of schools with D and F grades was far lower than what some had feared would take place. But with the state making the switch to a 10-point scale for the 2014-15 results, the bad news might only be delayed a year.
Click here for a database of results for every school in the state.
Looking at the 2013-14 results of 166 Wake schools that got a letter grade, 16 received an A. You also had 70 with a B, 61 with a C and 19 with a D. No school received an F grade.
Not surprisingly, the schools with low numbers of students receiving subsidized lunches tended to do better than the high-poverty schools.
Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrill said that parents who have concerns about their school’s grade should contact their principal. He’s also encouraging them to look at the online progress reports released Wednesday which provide additional data on each school.
“Don’t stop at a headline that says here’s the grade for the school,” Merrill told reporters Wednesday. “There’s so much more than that going on and our principals are prepared to talk about.”
Many schools benefited from how the 15-point scale resulted in a C being a 55 to 69 and D being a 40 to 54.
If a 10-point scale had been used, nearly half of Wake’s schools would have gotten a D or F. Under that scale, four schools would have gotten an A, 35 would have gotten a B, 47 would have received a C, 48 would have gotten a D and 32 would have received an F.
Statewide, a 10-point scale would have resulted in 70 percent of schools getting a D or F. The 15-point scale meant only 29 percent got a D or F this year.
If the Wake school board had its druthers, the grading system would be completely abolished by the legislature.
“We just don’t think it’s satisfactory,” Wake Superintendent Jim Merrill said Wednesday of the state’s performance grades. “ It doesn’t even come close to informing parents and community what’s really going on in their schools.”