Wake County Public School System students continue academic gains

Wake County students at every grade span made academic gains in 2011-12, according to newly released results from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Barwell Road Elementary School

In addition to district-wide increases in proficiency, Economically Disadvantaged students in Wake County demonstrated the highest levels of proficiency in math and reading that they have achieved under the state’s current testing model. Non-Economically Disadvantaged students showed impressive gains, as well.

Thursday’s results are part of a comprehensive report that uses End-of-Course (EOC) and End-of-Grade (EOG) tests and other information to measure school performance under the N.C. ABCs of Public Education and the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The results show that in 2011-12:

  • WCPSS elementary students demonstrated an overall proficiency rate of 82.1 percent, a gain of 1.9 points from the previous year.
  • WCPSS middle-school students demonstrated an overall proficiency rate of 82.1 percent, a gain of .9 points from the previous year.
  • WCPSS high-school students demonstrated an overall proficiency rate of 85.8 percent, an increase of 2.5 points from the previous year.

“We thank all of our dedicated principals, teachers, school-based and central office staff for their superb accomplishments and hard work,” Superintendent Tony Tata said.

EOC and EOG Results

District wide gains:

  • The percentage of students showing proficiency in reading, math and science increased in every grade level and subject tested, except for one—7th-grade math.
  • Third graders showed the most improvement, gaining 2.4 points in math and 2.2 points in reading.
  • Proficiency rates for Algebra I, Biology and English I End-of-Course tests also increased.

Gains for Economically Disadvantaged (ED) students:

Economically Disadvantaged students are defined as those who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

  • The percentage of ED students demonstrating proficiency in reading, math and science increased in every grade level and subject tested, except for 7th-grade math.
  • At the elementary level, the proficiency rate of ED students increased four points to 66 percent
  • At the middle-school level, the proficiency rate of ED students increased two points to 64 percent
  • At the high-school level, the proficiency rate of ED students increased five points to 71 percent
  • Additionally, economically disadvantaged students in grades 3 through 8 demonstrated the highest levels of proficiency in math and reading tests since test standards were raised in those subject areas (Math was reset in 2006, reading was reset in 2008)
  • Economically Disadvantaged high-school students also demonstrated the highest level of proficiency since the school system began reporting on this subgroup 10 years ago.

Some of the most significant gains occurred in some of the school system’s most challenged schools. The school system’s Renaissance elementary schools saw remarkable gains in overall proficiency. Barwell Road students achieved a 9.7-point gain and Wilburn students achieved a 7.7-point gain. These schools benefited in 2011-12 from staffing changes, technology upgrades and schedule flexibility.

Recognition under the ABCs of Public Education

The ABCs of Public Education are state measures of the performance of individual schools across North Carolina. The ABCs use year-end test results and other information to measure student performance and determine whether a school is improving each year.

  • 71 percent of WCPSS schools showed proficiency gains overall in 2011-12, compared to 63 percent the previous year.
  • 93 percent of WCPSS schools achieved Expected Growth or High Growth.
    • 110 schools made High Growth
    • An additional 42 schools made Expected Growth
  • The state named 23 schools as Honor Schools of Excellence or Schools of Excellence, the highest recognitions possible under the ABCs; This is an increase from 17 schools the previous year.

Honor Schools of Excellence include Alston Ridge, Briarcliff, Cedar Fork, Davis Drive, Highcroft Drive, Jones Dairy, Mills Park, Morrisville, Olive Chapel, Sycamore Creek and Willow Springs elementary schools; Apex, Davis Drive, Heritage, Lufkin Road, Mills Park and Salem middle schools; and Panther Creek High and Wake Early College of Health and Science. The state recognizes Honor Schools of Excellence for having at least 90 percent of students performed at or above grade level, meeting Expected Growth, and meeting all of their federal Annual Measurable Objectives requirements for subgroups.

Schools of Excellence include Green Hope Elementary, as well as Green Hope and Holly Springs high schools and the Wake NC State STEM Early College High School. The state recognizes Schools of Excellence for having at least 90 percent of students performed at or above grade level and meeting at least Expected Growth. The state rates other schools as Schools of Distinction, Schools of Progress, Priority Schools, or No Recognition Schools based on student testing results.

Performance under No Child Left Behind

Federal standards under No Child Left Behind measure end-of-year proficiency for selected subgroups of students at schools. For the first time this year, the performance of those subgroups is measured with Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO), replacing what was known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

Instead of meeting or failing to meet AYP, schools will now be evaluated based on the number of Annual Measurable Objectives students meet in each measurable subgroup.

According to the newly released 2011-12 results, 84 of 164 schools met all of their Annual Measurable Objectives. An additional 41 schools missed reaching 100 percent of their Annual Measurable Objectives by one or two targets.

Graduation Rates

According to data released Thursday, 80.8 percent of WCPSS students who entered high school as part of the Class of 2012 graduated within four years. This figure is likely to fluctuate after a standard correction period, and could change when the state issues a final report later this year.

The WCPSS graduation rate for the Class of 2011 was 80.4, and was adjusted to 80.9 after the standard correction period.

Statewide, 80.2 percent of students who entered high school as part of the Class of 2012 graduated within four years, according to the data released Thursday.

2011-12 results by school

End-of-Grade tests

End-of-Course tests

ABCs of Public Education

Annual Measurable Objectives