Wake County Public School System students posted steady academic growth across multiple measures last school year, according to test results released today by state school officials.
In addition to gains in the percentage of students considered proficient, the school system’s graduation rate also climbed above 82 percent and the percentage of students meeting new college and career standards increased.
The results were part of a large amount of data released today by the state Department of Public Instruction on various academic indicators.
About two-thirds of Wake County students met or exceeded the more rigorous state standards for proficiency introduced two years ago. They also scored well above the state average in all categories tested.
“Steady growth across a broad range of indicators is always a good sign, especially when a school system starts from a relatively high base given the tougher standards now used by the state,” said Superintendent Jim Merrill.
Grades and subjects tested included Math and Reading in Grades 3-8; Science in Grades 5 and 8; and Biology, English II and Math I in high school courses.
For the 2013-14 school year, 82.2 percent of seniors who started school four years earlier graduated on time. This is a 1.2 percentage-point increase over the 2012-13 rate of 81 percent, and the highest rate registered in WCPSS in the past eight years.
The school system as a whole realized a 1.8 percentage-point increase in the number of students who achieved grade level proficiency in particular subject areas. The districtwide proficiency rate moved from 64.8 percent for the 2012-13 academic year to 66.6 percent last year.
This is the second year that students have been tested on academic offerings under the new NC Standard Course of Study. The new Standard Course of Study incorporates the Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards that were first implemented in fall 2012, and under which students were first tested in spring 2013.
Career and College Readiness
The percentage of students deemed Career and College Ready also increased by 1.7 percentage points, from 55.8 in 2012-13 to 57.5 in 2013-14. Career and College Readiness is the percentage of students who scored at levels 4 or 5 (with 3 being grade level proficient) and are on track to graduate prepared for college or the workplace.
A number of schools reported significant percentage-point increases, many in the double digits. Durant Road Elementary showed an overall increase in performance of almost 8 percentage points. Principal Teresa Winstead attributes this to more intervention support, very detailed data walls for each teacher, the addition of a literacy coach two years ago, and a Y-Learning partnership with the YMCA.
Among a number of schools that realized higher performance results were:
- Olds Elementary, which experienced an overall 16.6 percentage point gain in performance;
- Smith Elementary, which realized a 13.3 percentage-point jump in Grade 3 reading and a 6.6 point jump in Grade 3 math; and
- Athens Drive High, which experienced an 11.5 percentage point increase in Math 1.
The percentage of high school juniors who scored a 17 or higher on the ACT exam increased, as well. The percentage of juniors who scored at least 17 in 2013-14 was 71.4 percent, up from 70.5 percent for their counterparts the year before.
For more information on these results and how they affect student learning, please visit www.wcpss.net.