Halifax schools feel pressure to perform on annual tests

Posted April 15, 2010

— Next month, students in North Carolina's public schools will take the EOGs, also known as end-of-grade tests. For Halifax County Schools, the exams are also a test to see if state intervention is working.

Student performance across the district has been so poor that last spring a Superior Court judge ordered the state to get involved.

Halifax County students might not show it, but they feel it – the pressure to perform.

“The students know they have to make growth and make gains this school year so that we are proficient in reading and math,” said Davie Middle School Principal Dennis Carrington.

Davie Middle has had below-average performance on state standardized tests for the past three years. To combat that trend, Carrington said, preparation, practice and focus are key.

During the first period of the day, the entire school works on remediation for reading or math. Students who are struggling don't go to electives during the school day. Instead, they come to a “pull out” session for extra tutoring.

All students also take mock end-of-grade tests, and Carrington pops into classes for what he calls his weekly brain teasers.

“We have put forth 150 percent effort to make sure we are on top,” he said.

On last year’s EOGs, 37.5 percent of Davie Middle School students scored as proficient in both reading and math. The state wants that number to rise this year by 10 percentage points, to 47.5 percent.

Halifax County Schools is in a three-year intensive program to boost scores. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction leaders came at the beginning of the year to help teachers create new strategies for success.

Davie Middle also offers after-school tutoring to meet students’ needs. A school transformation coach, provided by DPI, helps guide the staff.

“We are committed to what we are doing. So that, I think, is going to play a big part,” said teacher Patricia High.

The moment of truth will come in May.

“All the resources that we have available and the pressure is really pushing us so we can do what we have to do for this school year,” Carrington said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Killian Apr 15, 2010

    Hangintough expounded: "The EOGS have nothing to do with eduation. Depending on how good a school does allows principals and facilitators to keep their jobs. And it is about the almighty DOLLAR. My daughter makes good grades in school but makes only 2 and 3s on the EOG. Teachers spend all year teaching a test instead of teaching good old fashioned reading, writing and math. It would be interesting to know how much it costs the state of NC to implement the EOGs...probably millions..what a waste of money and time. It should be if your kid does well that year in school then your child passes...oh wait...that would make too much sense!"

    Gotta love ignorant people who have no clue what really goes on, spouting off. The EOGs are federally mandated to assess the curriculum. The SCoS happens first, and if the teacher teaches the SCoS, the test shouldn't be an issue. Kids that do well and fail the EOG can retest and appeal to be promoted as well. Learn your facts first, would you please?

  • Qwerty27807 Apr 15, 2010

    With the consecrated intervention from our inspired leaders in Raleigh, milk and honey shall flow like water and we will we cry the tears of blessed men.

  • Gnathostomata Apr 15, 2010

    Monkeyboy has really identified the problem; the lunchroom ladies and the teachers make about the same salary, give or take a few taxes. If everyone wonders what happened to education, they began to pay top salary to the adminstrators and less and less to the classroom teachers, causing many low end graduates to apply for the "job". Then to correct the problem they taught the teachers how to teach rather than requiring them to know their subject. I came into teaching as a biologist, and could actually identify mistakes in the text. My cohorts used standard guide sheets and scripted tests and were not required to take many science courses before teaching science. See, the new thought in education is, if you make great planning guides you will reach all students. Well, that is if you have full knowledge of each student and their learning skills. If not, you have to know the student, his family, keep weekly contact, attend classes and workshops to learn what new idea the state has impl

  • Gnathostomata Apr 15, 2010

    monkeyboy...."just fire the leadership and the lunchroom ladies can teach the kids how to wash dishes."

    Too funny! Laughing too hard to respond at this moment...

  • sykesterryb Apr 15, 2010

    "Halifax County students may not show it, but they feel it - the
    pressure to perform." YEAH, RIGHT!

  • monkeyboy Apr 15, 2010

    "“We have put forth 150 percent effort to make sure we are on top,” he said."

    well, with math like this from the top dog, it's fairly easy to see why the kids aren't learning. maybe they should just fire the leadership and the lunchroom ladies can teach the kids how to wash dishes.

  • r u crazy too Apr 15, 2010

    I almost guarantee its the school feeling the pressure. Most of these kids don't care. And EOG's are mandated by the state. Probably as part of the No Child Left Behind legislation. Part of the problem was that kids were graduating who could not read. They were getting promoted because the state didn't want older kids in the same classroom with younger ones (i.e. "dumb "kids, troublemakers who did not "pass" and were held back so therefore you had older kids in classrooms with kids 3-4 years younger). And teachers have always taught to a test.
    You want to solve the problem: Teach core subjects period; math, English, science, history. Get parents involved with the school. Raise teacher salary and make them accountable. Get rid of the needless paperwork (let teachers teach), secure the classroom (get students who don't want to learn, who constantly cause trouble out of the class, make the parent responsible), lengthen the school day, lengthen the school year.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 15, 2010

    The EOGs are important because of the varying level of quality in our schools. An A in Halifax County is probably a C+ or B- in Wake County. The EOGs are the only way for the state to know if a school system is actually teaching the kids what they need to know. Most of those who opposed the EOGs are teachers and principals. They don't want to be held accountable.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 15, 2010

    They also need to change the attitudes about education in the home. That's the key to success. Without the positive attitudes at home, no amount of money being thrown at the problem is going to fix the problem.

  • Caveman93 Apr 15, 2010

    I always felt pressure when an exam was coming up. So who is feeling more pressure, the students or the schools in this case?