Wake County Schools

Graduation rate, test scores up in Wake schools

Posted July 15, 2011

— Wake County schools' graduation rate has improved in the past three years, and elementary and middle schoolers, particularly minority groups, are scoring better on tests, Superintendent Tony Tata announced Friday.

The four-year graduation rate rose nearly two points to 80.4 percent in 2011 from a year earlier. The rate had been basically stable, around 78 percent, since a three-point drop in 2007.

Student testing / SAT test / ACT test / EOG test generic Preliminary 2011 test scores for Wake County schools

The largest gain came among Hispanic students, who went from a 51.1 percent graduation rate in 2009 to 64.7 percent last year. Black students also improved, from 63.4 percent to 67.2 percent over the same period.

More than 90 percent of white and Asian students graduated last year.

Tata credited the improvement to schools' efforts to reach out to groups of at-risk students over the past couple years. Staffers identified at-risk students' individual needs, and dozens of community groups and volunteers helped get more resources to the students, he said.

He praised administrators at one elementary school who, when they realized students were being read to at home, set aside 30 minutes each day for students to read independently.

Preliminary results show that grades 3-5 and 6-8 had three-point gains from three years ago in the rate of students scoring as proficient on end-of-course tests. Eighty percent of elementary schoolers were rated as proficient, and 81 percent of middle schoolers.

High schoolers slipped back one point, to 83 percent, in 2011, after posting a five-point gain the year before. Tata said he thinks that dip is temporary and that high school scores will continue to go up.  Wake schools chief's weekly press conference Wake schools chief: Student performance improving

The biggest improvement on tests came from Hispanic high schoolers, who turned in an 11-point jump in the number of proficient scores, from 64 percent in 2009 to 75 percent in 2011.

Proficient scores for black and Hispanic students in elementary, middle and high school also went up by more than five points over that same time period.

Scores for white and Asian students remained consistent or posted small gains during that time, with at least 92 percent of students scoring proficient at all grade levels.

Tata singled out 12 schools to recognize for strong growth. Half were in eastern Wake County, where student achievement has been a struggle.

River Oaks Middle School saw a 14-point rise in test scores, while Wakelon and Zebulon elementary schools both posted 13-point gains.

Tata said he believes that achievement growth, particularly in eastern Wake County, will help parents pick schools under a new student assignment policy.

The superintendent cautioned that the state Department of Public Instruction won't release the final scores until next week, but he said the preliminary scores are generally reliable.


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  • chevybelair57sd Jul 21, 2011

    Funny channel 17 reports that only 22 of 163 schools in Wake reported adequet yearend satisfactory progress. They have continually dumbed down the tests and will keep doing it until they show progress. What a joke the schools have become

  • caryboy88 Jul 18, 2011

    hmm, maybe folks are realizing they'll actually have to try to succeed and not just get a handout. Try or die.

  • geosol Jul 15, 2011

    Good point, Mean Old Mom! Silver lining in everything if you look at it that in the right light!

  • Plenty Coups Jul 15, 2011

    g-man-"The test itself is dumbed down so as to be pathetic."

    Really? And you have proof? Why don't you try taking it? Or isn't this because you're just unhappy that it doesn't support your "public schools are failing" philosophy. If NC public school students were "dumbed down" so much, it would be reflected in national test scores such as the NAEP. But it isn't which makes your comment meaningless.

    "And even if you flunk it you can still go get an override."

    Yes, but flunking students repeatedly causes more problems than its worth. So does redrilling and retesting in order to keep parents from suing when their child fails. Been there done that.

  • Plenty Coups Jul 15, 2011

    "80% success rate for our public school monopoly, good news but at what cost to taxpayers?"

    You're right. We already spend less than most states so we should be happier w/ a 50% success rate.

  • Shamrock Jul 15, 2011

    "Than you John Tedesco and the new board for improving our schools! Keep up the good work."

    LOL! He has accomplished zero, zilch, just like the rest of the board! He was heading the neighborhood schools project,and couldn't work with a team so they had to put it off on the new Super. Yeah, thanks John!

  • Mean Old Mom Jul 15, 2011

    Did you ever consider the possiblity that the results may have nothing to do with education, but could be related to the economic times we are in? Maybe, because of hard times, people are cancelling cable, movies,entertainment, etc, so that the only worthwhile activity kids will pursue is reading. That was pointed out as one of the reasons kids seemed to do better.

  • mep Jul 15, 2011

    80% success rate for our public school monopoly, good news but at what cost to taxpayers? Anyone really know what it costs to educate a single "successful" student in Wake county? From Kindergarten until graduation? Anyone? I think taxpayers would be appalled at the figure.

  • flashsparks Jul 15, 2011

    Than you John Tedesco and the new board for improving our schools! Keep up the good work.

  • OGE Jul 15, 2011

    "I'm all for encouraging every parent and community member out there to volunteer at the local schools. "

    No thanks, this immensely expensive system needs to handle it and they need to perform far far better than they are currently performing.

    wow! just wow! let me guess you live in South East Raleigh in government housing and drive a new BMW.