Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools showed significant improvement on state tests for 2015-2016, as well as in school performance. In addition, 86 percent of district schools met or exceeded expected growth and the CMS graduation rate rose to 89.6 percent, the highest in the state and nearly four points above the rate statewide.
"We are pleased with our academic progress during the 2015-2016 school year," said Superintendent Ann Clark. "We will continue our focus on literacy skills at every grade level and professional development for principals and teachers because it is producing strong results as evidenced by 86 percent of our schools meeting or exceeding growth expectations."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg School's graduation rate of 89.6 percent was higher than the other large districts in North Carolina, as well as the statewide rate of 85.8 percent. Guilford County Schools was second with 89.4 percent and Wake County Public School System was third with 87.1 percent. The CMS graduation rate has grown 19.7 percentage points since 2010. Graduation rates also increased for all subgroups of students (white, Asian, African-American and Hispanic).
North Carolina's end-of-year testing now assesses proficiency and whether a student is on track to graduate college- and career-ready. Proficiency means a student scored at levels 3, 4 or 5. The proficiency of students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools increased in all subjects except English II. The district's composite results were nearly three percentage points higher than the state composites, and higher than every large district except Wake.
In End-of-Grade (EOG) reading tests for grades three through eight, the composite proficiency score rose to 58 percent in 2015-2016 from 56.4 percent a year earlier. In math for grades three through eight, proficiency scores were 59.4 percent in 2015-2016, up from 56.9 percent a year earlier. In science (tested in grades five and eight), it was 73.8 percent, up from 71.4 a year earlier.
For End-of-Course tests (which are given to middle and high school students), proficiency increased in math, rising to 66 percent in 2015-2016 from 64.4 a year earlier, and in biology to 60.4 percent, compared to 58.4 percent a year earlier. In English II, scores declined to 60.9 percent from 64.4 percent a year earlier.
Students who score a level 4 or 5 are considered to be on track for college and career readiness. The district's composite scores for EOG tests in reading, math and science increased, outpacing the state and every other large district except Wake. On reading in grades three through eight, the composite score rose to 47.6 percent, up from 46 percent a year earlier. In math for grades three through eight, the composite score rose to 52.7 percent, up from 49.4 a year earlier. In science for grades five and eight, scores rose to 65.4 percent from 62.4 percent a year earlier.
In EOC testing, the percentage of CMS students who were college- and career-ready increased in math and biology and declined in English II. In math, the composite score rose to 58.1 percent from 56 percent a year earlier. In biology, composite scores rose to 52.4 percent from 50.2 percent a year earlier. In English II, scores declined to 52.7 from 54.2 a year earlier.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is outperforming the state in every subject and grade tested, with average increases ranging from 1.8 to 5.8 points higher.
North Carolina also measures the performance of schools. School growth indicates the average rate of growth for students in an individual school. There are three outcomes: Schools can fail to achieve expected growth, can achieve expected growth or exceed expected growth. Not all CMS schools are measured in this way, because two years of data are required. In all, growth at 163 of 168 schools was measured for 2015-2016 and 140, or 85.9 percent met or exceeded expected growth.
North Carolina also assigns schools a letter grade based on a variety of standards that include state resting results, the number of high school juniors who pass in Math III, Algebra or Integrated Math III and the percentage of students who graduate in four years. The letter grade also includes scores on the ACT and ACT WorkKeys assessments.
The number of CMS schools earning an A+ rose to 14, or 8 percent of all schools, from eight a year earlier. The number of A schools stayed constant: 11, or 7 percent. The number of schools earning a B declined to 42, or 25 percent, from 50 a year earlier. Schools with a grade of C grew to 61, or 37 percent, from 44 a year earlier. The number of schools with a grade of D or F also declined: D schools dropped to 32, or 19 percent, from 37 a year earlier and F schools declined by half, to 5 or 3 percent, from 10 a year earlier.
"We are very pleased to see improvement in our school grades," Clark said. "It's particularly significant that the number of D and F schools declined, and we'll continue to work at getting that number to zero."
To see a slideshow with additional testing details, click here.