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State test scores highlight progress in science, continuing challenges in reading

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools saw overall results on state tests stay essentially flat, with advances in college- and career-ready science scores, and declines in elementary and middle school literacy scores for the 2018-2019 year. Nearly three-fourths (71.7 percent) of the district’s schools met or exceeded growth expectations, compared to 75.6 percent a year earlier.

The state introduced new math scales and a new end-of-course test in Math 3. Changes in the math calculation for 2018-2019 made accurate year-over-year comparisons impossible. The state also changed the way it determines which students count as English Learners (EL), whose scores are counted in test results.

For CMS, the percentage of students testing at or above grade-level proficiency declined 0.7 points in reading for grades three through eight and increased 0.8 points in science for grades five and eight. The district outperformed the state on Math 3-8, Science 5 and 8, Math 1, Math 3 and Biology.

“CMS is committed to giving each and every student the best education possible,” said CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston. “We are not where we want to be, but we have a high-quality curriculum and high expectations for all students. With our strategic plan in place and the curriculum changes implemented this year, we are focused on helping all students achieve and further our equity goals.”

The district is working with two new curriculum partners, EL Education for English language arts (ELA) and Open Up Resources for math. The curriculum is being adopted in kindergarten and grades one, two, three and six for ELA and grade eight for math. The limited release will allow the district to provide targeted professional learning and support before the curriculum is expanded to other grade levels and content areas.

College- and career-readiness (CCR) rates measure the percentage of students who scored a 4 or a 5 on the state tests (5 is the highest score possible). In reading grades three through eight, all racial subgroups except Asian students showed a decrease in CCR rates since 2017-2018. In English II, all racial subgroups except white students showed an increase in CCR rates since 2017-2018. The largest increases were 4.7 percentage points for Asian students, 3 points for black students and 2.3 points for Hispanic students. Economically disadvantaged students increased by 1.6 points and students with disabilities increased by 0.8 points. White students’ scores declined by 1.2 points, and EL students’ scores are not comparable to last year’s scores due to a change in the subgroup definition.

By contrast, CCR rates stayed steady or increased in all subgroups in science for grades five and eight, with the largest gains recorded by Asian and white students. “Our community and Board of Education are focused on the college- and career-readiness of our students,” said Dr. Frank Barnes, the district’s chief equity officer. “We continue to make progress as we work to narrow the gaps in all subgroups.” Economically disadvantaged students showed a gain of 2 points, black students 1.8 points and students with disabilities 1 point. Scores for Hispanic students were unchanged from last year.

The district’s graduation rate also increased slightly, from 85.4 percent to 85.5 percent. Asian students increased by 2.2 points and had the highest graduation rate across student subgroups. Hispanic students increased by 0.5 points and black students by 0.3 points. White students have historically had the highest graduation rates, but this year their graduation rate declined by 0.7 points.

Nearly 72 percent (71.7 percent) of schools met or exceeded growth expectations, and 73 percent received a school performance grade of A, B or C. CMS had 17 A schools, 53 B schools, 55 C schools, 39 D schools and 7 F schools. Two-thirds of schools (65 percent) maintained their school performance grades from 2017-2018, and 31 schools (19 percent) improved from last year.


P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website (www.cms.k12.nc.us) is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.