Local News

Schools improve on ABC tests

Posted August 6, 2009
Updated August 7, 2009

— The percentage of North Carolina schools that met standards the annual ABC tests jumped 40 points this year, pushed by counting the results of students who took the tests a second.

N.C. student test scores up N.C. student test scores up

According to ABC test results released Thursday, 71 percent of schools met standards for adequate yearly progress. That’s up from 31 percent last year.

“This is good momentum,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said.

The results included the scores of third- through eighth-grade students who took the exam again and got a better score, Atkinson said. It was the first time in the 13-year history of the ABCs test that the results of those re-tests were included.

Statewide, the report designated schools in the following categories:

  • 121 schools as Honor Schools of Excellence
  • Five as Schools of Excellence
  • 502 as Schools of Distinction
  • 1,062 as Schools of Progress
  • 253 received no recognition
  • 361 as Priority Schools
  • 74 as Low Performing Schools

Honor Schools of Excellence means that 90 percent of students passed state tests, and the school met or exceeded expected growth by state and federal standards. Schools of excellence met the state but not the federal standards for improvement.

Eighty percent of students pass state tests in Schools of Distinction, and 60 percent in Schools of Progress; both rankings require meeting state standards for improvement. Priority schools have 50 percent of students passing state tests.

Of the low-performing schools, Durham County had five, and Cumberland County had four.

In Halifax County, nine of 14 schools were classified as low performing. Some schools had fewer than a third of their students pass the exams.

“I’m not sure there’s anything you can say about a school that’s 28 percent proficient,” State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said.

All the low-performing schools will receive state assistance. Halifax County is getting unprecedented intervention from the state, including training for all teachers.

Administrators statewide said the challenge is to build on positive trends, including improved test results and graduation rates that have increased for the past three years.

Wake County had 12 schools named as Schools of Excellence or Honor Schools of Excellence and 50 named as Schools of Distinction – up from four and 26, respectively, last year. Overall, 138 of 156 schools made high or expected growth.

Four Durham Country schools earned the second-highest ranking as Schools of Distinction – up from none the year before. Overall, 43 of 48 Durham schools had higher composite scores than the previous year.

Every school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City district made adequate yearly progress, and 88.1 percent of Johnston County’s schools met expected growth.

Continuing budget constraints will continue to present challenges for future academic improvement, administrators said.

“Money does matter,” Atkinson said.

 To find out how your school did, click here.


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  • cocoanlk Aug 7, 2009

    However, this is just the statewide accountability - the ABCs. It'll be really interesting to compare this to AYP results because if I'm not mistaken, the federal government won't allow retests to be counted for purposes of NCLB. So again NC will have all these schools that are showing "remarkable gains" in percent proficient and above and be in federal school improvement.

    You can thank the brilliant Blue Ribbon Commission and the State Board for that little shell game. Expect to be a joke on Letterman in the coming months...

  • anneonymousone Aug 6, 2009

    SME2 wrote, "Also expect [ABC scores] to go down since there will be no school of excellence bonuses this year."

    If teachers were going to work solely for the money, we would choose a job that asked only 40 hours of our week, where we were treated like professionals, where we would not be insulted and ignored dozens of times a day, where parents and guardians of our charges understood that we are giving their children a treasure beyond calculation because it is our calling and not because we are their servants, and where our paychecks were a truer reflection of our education and experience level. In other words, if we were in it for the money, we would not be in it.

    Thumbs up to JackFlash123.

  • time4real Aug 6, 2009

    " Teachers can only do so much and without the support of the "family".
    and family/parents can ONLY do so much without teachers speaking up! When you're afraid to speak up because you don't want to "lose a job" you can only win 1/2 the battle!

  • horsewhspers Aug 6, 2009

    "Schools improve on ABC tests"

    Students were asked if they knew where the nearest ABC Store was and 9 out of 10 answered correctly...

  • Plenty Coups Aug 6, 2009

    Which is better, private or public? Read this and see for yourself:

  • Plenty Coups Aug 6, 2009

    I agree with you Jackflash. They will argue that schools are failing if scores on standardized tests go down. Then they argue that the tests are watered down or deliberately miscalculated if scores go up, all to fit their agenda of poor, failing public schools. Why? Probably so they don't have to pay taxes. To deny what is in front of you exposes them for the fanatics that they are. Look at the Charter school experiment. Why do 50+% of them fail? (Much higher than public school rates btw) Does this mean all Charter schools are failures?

  • gammasandi Aug 6, 2009

    was it Mark Twain who said "there are lies, dam# lies and statistics"? The proof is in the pudding of what students can do on a daily basis...are you impressed?

  • chef-w-sense Aug 6, 2009

    I did not see Wake mentioned. Looked at the list and it looked like no High Schools made AYP. It is usually 1 sub group that keeps HS from making it. I teach in Harnett and none made it here either. Now that budget has been passed and teachers are going to be cut. I see in todays paper that a MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL was names with a salary of $112,000

  • Brindy Aug 6, 2009

    LOL! Thank you tikisha!! The F&R epidemic is out of control!
    Top 5 signs you should NOT receive Free/Reduced Breakfast and Lunch:
    1.if you come in with a new pair of Nikes every other month
    2. if you are wearing more than one desgner outfit a week
    3. you should not own XBox, PS2, and Ipods
    4. your MOTHER comes to attend a meeting and arrives in a MERCEDES!!
    5. your MOTHER complains how she shouldn't have to pay for a field trip b/c you get FREE/Reduced meals....all while a COACH bag is hanging off her arm!


  • Wheelman Aug 6, 2009

    This is all smoke and mirrors. None of what is in the ABC's will change anything. If you truly want change, then you will push your politicians for school vouchers. Then you can designate where the tax dollars allocated for your child will go. You pick the school whether it be public or private. The schools that do a good job of educating you child will prosper. Those tht don't will change or close. Until there is true competition nothing will change. This way even those who normally couldn't afford a private school can have that opportunity. It will not destroy the public schools unless they choose to not meet the educational needs of the children. The parents should have the final say in their child's education, not the school board. Without vouchers, the bureacracy will only get bigger and the children's educations will only get worse.