Local News

Schools improve on ABC tests

Posted August 6, 2009 11:27 a.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2009 8:15 a.m. EDT

— 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.

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.