School Officials, Parents Ponder Mixed Test Results
Posted August 24, 2007
Raleigh, N.C. — End of grade test scores came in for Wake County, and the results were mixed.
Overall, reading and math scores went up for third to eighth graders. But white and Asian students were still performing well above blacks and Latinos. The achievement gap was larger at the high school level.
Wake County officials said some of the numbers look good. More than 90 percent of elementary and middle students were reading at grade level or above. Math scores also went up for that age group.
But results weren’t so shiny in the high schools.
On tests taken at the end of each high school course, black students’ test scores dropped more than nine percentage points from the previous school year, 59.6 to 50.2. Latino scores dropped about seven percentage points, 65.9 to 58.7.
Whites and Asians dropped two percentage points.
“We should all be concerned. We as a community are responsible for children,” said Calla Wright, with the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children.
Wake County officials said they look for teachers whose students are scoring high, figure out what's working and pass those ideas along to other teachers. They also try to get more parents involved in schools.
“If I’m an African American parent of a high school kid, I want to know a lot about Algebra I,” said David Holdzkom, Wake County assistant superintendent for evaluation and research.
Wright - who is an advocate, parent and teacher – said she agrees.
“Are parents involved in the children’s education? Because that’s a critical part,” she said.
At Combs Elementary, teachers have given parents guidelines for what students should be learning every step of the way.
“To give the parents the tools that they need so that everyone feels successful, then my job is done, almost,” said teacher Kelly Schroeder.
School officials said some of the drops in scores were due to a change in state standards, especially in math.