By Taylor Sisk
Results of state testing released last week reveal that students in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools showed general improvement this past year, but that with rising federal standards, much improvement is required to meet expectations.
â€œAs a new superintendent, it is certainly gratifying to see test scores on the rise,â€ said Superintendent Tom Forcella. â€œThe challenge for the future will be to maintain â€“ or better yet, increase â€“ the pace of the growth in student achievement, especially in light of the higher [Adequate Yearly Progress] standards.â€
Federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards were raised somewhat in 2011, toward meeting the No Child Left Behind goal of having 100 percent of students performing at or above grade level by 2013-14. Expected levels of reading proficiency were increased from 43.2 percent in 2010 to 71.6 percent in 2011, and for math proficiency from 77.2 percent to 88.6 percent. â€¨
Math proficiency in end-of-grade testing for the district is now at 94.1 percent, a 1 percent increase over last year and reading proficiency is up to 86.7 percent, a 1.5 percent increase.
Some subgroups showed notable progress. Math proficiency among black students is at 82.8 percent, a gain of 4 percent over last year and 33 percent since 2006. Latino math scores improved to 85.5 percent, a 4 percent increase from last year. Economically disadvantaged students improved in math by more than 3 percent to 82.2 percent, as did students with disabilities, up to 81.0 percent.
Carrboro Elementary School showed the most improvement in math, with Estes Hills Elementary School improving the most in reading.
Speaking to the school board at its July 21 meeting, Forcella said that while the district is seeing improvements, the rising standards will have â€œan impact on where we go in the future.
â€œAre we really meeting the needs of all kids? â€¦ Are we truly challenging all kids?â€ he asked, suggesting that doing so might require more than just tweaking whatâ€™s presently being done â€“ rather, making some â€œbolder sort of changes.â€
â€œItâ€™s time to think about something new and different,â€ said board member Mike Kelley, â€œand I look forward to working with Dr. Forcella and all the community and my board colleagues on considering what that might look like.â€
For a school to meet overall AYP compliance, every subgroup for which at least 40 students were tested must reach both reading and math standards. Only four schools in the district â€“ Ephesus, Estes Hills, Glenwood and Seawell elementary schools â€“ did so.
No district schools face new sanctions as a result of the scores. Frank Porter Graham Elementary School will remain in Corrective Action, meaning that it must continue to offer students the option to transfer out and supplemental-education services for the coming year.
A school enters Corrective Action when it fails to meet standards for four consecutive years in a subject. FPG was placed in Corrective Action last year for its performance in math. It will need to reach standards in both reading and math next year to be lifted from Corrective Action. â€¨â€¨
FPG will host a meeting to discuss Title I parent rights and the parent involvement policy on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.