According to the 2011-12 ABCs of Public Education report presented this week to the State Board of Education, nearly 80 percent of North Carolina public schools met or exceeded their academic growth goals.
This is the final year of the ABCs of Public Education accountability program before the state transitions to the READY school accountability model in the 2012-13 school year. The ABCs report shows how students performed on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests taken in grades 3 through 12.
The report also found that 46.2 percent (1,165 schools) of all schools met all of their Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs). AMOs have replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures previously required by the U.S. Department of Education.
Under AMOs, proficiency targets are set for each student subgroup. Before AMOs were allowed, there was only one proficiency target for all student subgroups.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said AMOs provide a clearer picture of how a school is performing.
For the 2011-12 school year, Richmond County’s “Total Number of AMO Targets” was 64; the “AMO Targets Met” was 51; and the “Percentage of AMO Targets Met” was 79.7 percent.
“This means Richmond County Schools made (reached) 51 out of 64 targets (AMOs), compared with making 45 of 58 targets under AYP last year,” said Steve Lear, director of testing and accountability for RCS.
“Last school year, all subgroups of students were expected to meet the same target,” said Lear. “For this year, subgroup targets were based on the performance level of the 2010-11 school year. It can be difficult to make some comparisons between last year’s and this year’s results because some targets increased and some decreased — depending on the subgroup.”
Five out of 17 schools in the district made all targets (AMOs), compared with four out of 17 making AYP using last year’s standards.
“This past year, late in the year, the targets were changed,” said Lear. “Now there are more subgroups.”
In order to meet targets (AMOs), a school must have at least 40 students to make up a subgroup. Each subgroup has different AMO targets for baseline reading and math scores.
Subgroups include: All students; Native American; Asian; black, Hispanic; two or more races; white; economically disadvantaged; limited English proficient; and students with disabilities.
An example of AMO targets in subgroups during the 2011-12 school year is a baseline score in reading of 65.2 for Native American students grades 3-8; and a baseline score in reading of 82.6 for an Asian subgroup in the same age bracket. Native American baseline scores for math in high school were listed as 78.1, while the Asian subgroup was listed as 92.9.
“These new measures mean that performance measurements change, depending on the subgroup,” said Lear.
The first measurements out from this past school year noted that five Richmond County schools reached all of their AMO targets: Richmond County Transitional School; Ninth Grade Academy; Richmond Early College High School; L.J. Bell Elementary; and East Rockingham Elementary.
Richmond Early College High School was named as an Honor School of Excellence, with at least 90 percent of students at grade level.
“I can’t begin to say how proud I am of the students and faculty of Richmond Early College High School for the hard work and dedication they showed last school year,” said Michael Chapman, RECHS principal. “They were under a tremendous amount of pressure to outperform what had been accomplished previously, and they more than met the challenge.”
L.J. Bell Elementary and Ninth Grade Academy were listed as schools of distinction. Sixteen schools made expected academic growth. Eight schools made high growth: East Rockingham Elementary; Ellerbe Middle; Fairview Heights Elementary; Richmond Senior High; Richmond Early College; Richmond County Transitional; Rohanen Middle; and Washington Street Elementary.
The state also reported that graduation rates rose to 77.7 percent in 2011, the highest four-year graduation rate ever reported in North Carolina.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org