Local News

N.C. Students Gain Ground in Reaching Education Goals

Posted November 6, 1997

— North Carolina students made Gov. Hunt proud in Washington on Wednesday. Hunt heads a national program called "The Education Goals Panel", and a study shows public school students in the state gained more ground in reaching several important education goals than students in any other state.

They made significant progress in 14 of the 33 indicators. Some of those improvements include:

  • Higher math scores in both the third and fourth grade
  • More math and science degrees issued to all students
  • Higher scores on the Advanced Placement achievement test
  • More students are getting their high school diploma.

    The panel looked at seven math and science areas. North Carolina schools made gains in all of them. WRAL's Betsy Sykes found out what one school is doing to successfully push its students forward.

    Cooper Elementary in Clayton is a school of distinction. It's students have done well on state math and reading exams. Teachers we talked with today say they aren't surprised North Carolina's students are doing better when it comes to math and science.

    In Betsy McKenzie's class, they're taking a new approach to learning math. McKenzie teaches her students with shapes to reinforce the numbers. Math facts and memorization are taught all year long.

    Ninety-five percent of Cooper's third graders tested for math proficiency at the beginning of this school year got the equivalent of an "A" or "B".

    Cooper Elementary isn't the only school seeing success. Overall, North Carolina's schools are doing better when it comes to teaching math and science.

    Mary Kornegay said she's had more success teaching science ever since she began putting students in cooperative learning groups. Students here learn to appreciate and recognize different learning styles.

    Superintendent Mike Ward says the fact the state has come up with a standard course of study that meets national goals has also helped students. It's important to remember, North Carolina started out low with room for improvement. So while the gains are good, even Ward says it's not good enough and he wants North Carolina to keep making progress.

    Reporter: Betsy Sykes

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