CMS makes academic goal a year early 
 
Nearly every school in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools averaged a year’s academic progress or more in the 2008-2009 school year, surpassing a district goal for 2010. To view school results click here.

State test results released Aug. 6 showed that 89.6 percent of the district’s schools made high or expected growth, more than the goal of 80 percent CMS had set for 2010.

“We have met one of the biggest goals in our Strategic Plan 2010 on academic achievement,” Dr. Peter Gorman, superintendent, said at a media briefing. “We said we wanted 80 percent of our schools to make expected or high growth on the state ABCs by 2010, and we’ve cleared that bar a year ahead of schedule. We didn’t just clear the bar – we soared over it! I am very, very proud of the work done by our teachers, our principals and our schools and students this year.”

The results were part of the state ABCs (Accountability, Basics and Local Control) system, which tracks the progress of North Carolina’s public schools.  The ABCs measure the academic growth of students each year. It is also used to calculate whether schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The ABCs have three measures. Performance composites measure the percentage of each school’s students who scored proficient (Level III) or higher on the state End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests. The growth measurement indicates the rate at which students learned during the school year. AYP status is then calculated using the proficiency of students who spent the whole year at the school.

Only 17 of the 162 schools measured in CMS showed growth that was less than expected.  Eighty of the schools measured showed high growth, and 65 showed expected growth.

Among elementary schools, 50 made high growth and  39 made expected growth, with 10 falling below the standard. Twelve middle schools made high growth, with 17 making expected growth and three falling short. In high schools, 18 made high growth, nine made expected growth and four fell short of the standard.

On average, students in CMS made more than a year’s worth of growth in the school year, according to the district’s average growth total. The growth results show that CMS helped its Hispanic students advance at an even faster rate than the average, which means the district is closing the achievement gap for those students.

However, the state calculations show that a gap remains with African-American and economically disadvantaged students, meaning that those subgroups on average are not learning at a faster rate than their peers.

The graduation rate declined slightly, from 66.6 percent in 2007-2008 to 66.1 percent in 2008-2009.

“We will continue to work on improving our students’ progress, particularly our at-risk students,” Dr. Gorman said. “While we’re pleased with these results, we’re not satisfied – and we’ll keep focusing on academic improvement.”

On the AYP measure, 114 of 166 schools assessed under the federal standard made Adequate Yearly Progress.  That was a marked increase over 2007-2008, when schools making AYP declined because some tests were made more rigorous. Also helping the results was a change in state policy that made it slightly easier for schools to make the AYP standard, CMS accountability officials said.

CMS estimates the impact of the rule change to have helped at least 52 schools clear the AYP bar.

For a complete list of ABCs and AYP results, go to http://abcs.ncpublicschools.org/abcs.