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Schools receive mixed test results

By Rose Laudicina
Staff Writer

Two of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district’s 17 schools did not earn recognition from the State Department of Public Instruction (DPI) after failing to meet expectations based on end-of-grade testing, according to a report released last week by DPI.

Both McDougle Elementary School and Carrboro High School failed to earn any recognition on the State Department of Public Instruction ABCs of Public Education 2011-12 Growth and Performance report. The three recognitions schools can earn are Honor School of Excellence, School of Excellence or School of Distinction.

The report also shows which schools had high growth rates or expected growth rates in grade-level performance or were low performing, based on data collected from state mandated end-of-grade (EOG) tests.

In the 2010-11 ABCs of Public Education report, Carrboro High and McDougle Elementary were both recognized as Schools of Distinction, meaning they met the expected growth criteria and performance standards.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education Chair Mia Burroughs said it is difficult to determine where the exact cause for concern lies based simply on test data, and further analysis is needed.

“We have high expectations for all our students,” Burroughs said. “Test data is just one factor to show how a school is doing.”

Burroughs said district staff have been asked to look into why the two schools did not meet expected growth rates, and they will discuss this at tonight’s (Thursday) board meeting.

The remaining 15 district schools met their growth standards and earned top recognition. Seawell Elementary, East Chapel Hill High, Glenwood Elementary and Smith Middle were named Honor Schools of Excellence. These schools earned high-growth marks, with more than 90 percent of students at or above grade level based on EOG test results.

Two district schools, Mary Scroggs Elementary and Chapel Hill High, were named Schools of Excellence, with 90 percent or more of their students performing at grade level.

The remaining nine schools were recognized as Schools of Distinction – Rashkis Elementary, Morris Grove Elementary, Phillips Middle, Culbreth Middle, Frank Porter Graham Elementary, Ephesus Elementary, Estes Hills Elementary, McDougle Middle and Carrboro Elementary.

In the 2010-11 ABCs of Public Education report, three district schools were named Honor Schools of Excellence, eight were named Schools of Excellence and six were named Schools of Distinction.

Burroughs said it is hard to compare the new results with the previous year’s results because the state keeps changing tests and standards. The ABCs system will be replaced by a new one beginning next year.

“I think our schools generally did well,” Burroughs said. “With testing, the devil is in the details.”

Burroughs added that the board would look into the testing results to identify struggling sub-groups and ways to help them improve.

In addition to looking at individual schools, the ABCs of Public Education measures district graduation rates, and for 2011-12 the CHCCS district posted 80.2 percent, an improvement over 77.9 percent for 2010-11.

“I’m pleased to see graduation rates improved across the district,” Burroughs said. “The teachers, from kindergarten through high school, should all be proud because they all had a hand in this [improvement].”

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