September 8, 2015
Dare County Schools discusses accountability results
State Board of Education released accountability scores for the
2014-2015 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Dare’s overall proficiency
composite score of 63.5 percent is the 16th highest score in the state,
according to the 2014-2015 Performance Composite District Ranking.
In her first review of Dare County’s scores, Superintendent Dr.
Sue Burgess remarked in a news release that, “We are very pleased with
most of our results, but there are areas that must be addressed.”
In the release, Burgess praised teachers, guidance counselors, and
principals for the continuing success in the on-time graduation rate.
For the third year in a row, the most recent graduating class set a new
record. The Class of 2015 posted an on-time rate of 93.8 percent, which
was the third highest rate of the 115 school districts in North
Carolina. Dare County Schools has been officially recognized by the
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for being in the Top
Ten for Graduation Rate for nine straight years.
Regarding proficiency scores on the End-of-Grade (EOG) and
End-of-Course (EOC) tests, Dare County was above the state average on
all 17 tested areas, which include reading in grades 3 through 8, math
in grades 3 through 8, science in grades 5 and 8, Math I (Algebra),
English II (10th grade), and high school biology.
“We want to congratulate our teachers and students for being in the top
10 percent on six of the state tests, including fifth grade reading and
math, eighth grade reading and science, Math I (Algebra), and English
II (10th grade English),” said Burgess.
Additionally, Burgess identified four other state tests on which
students’ scores were in the top 25 percent of the state’s 115
districts, including third grade reading, fifth grade science, sixth
grade reading, and biology.
Five math EOG scores were in the top third of the state, including
grades 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. Reading scores in grades 4 and 7 were in the
top half of the state.
To read the entire report, go to http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/.
“In evaluating proficiency scores, it is important to look at how other
North Carolina school districts are doing to get a better understanding
of the context of the proficiency scores,” said Burgess in the news
release, pointing out that proficiency scores dropped drastically
statewide in 2012-2013 (the first year that the Common Core Curriculum
was implemented) and have been very slow to rebound.
In addition to proficiency, schools are also rated on “growth,” which
is intended to measure the amount of academic progress students make
over a year’s time. The students at three schools exceeded growth
expectations, including Kitty Hawk Elementary School, Manteo High
School, and Nags Head Elementary School.
The students at four schools met expectations for a year’s growth,
including First Flight High School, Manteo Middle School, First Flight
Elementary School, and Cape Hatteras Elementary School.
Student scores at three schools fell below the state’s definition of
expected growth, including Manteo Elementary School, Cape Hatteras
Secondary School, and First Flight Middle School.
For the second year in a row, the state has issued letter grades to
schools based on proficiency scores and growth in the tested subjects.
For 2014-2015, five schools in Dare County received a B and five
received a C.
The schools receiving a B included First Flight High School (80), Kitty
Hawk Elementary School (79), Manteo High School (76), Nags Head
Elementary School (75), and First Flight Elementary School (71). Cape
Hatteras Elementary School (67), First Flight Middle School (63),
Manteo Middle School (63), Cape Hatteras Secondary School (56), and
Manteo Elementary School (55) all received an overall grade of C.
A press release from the North Carolina Department of Public
Instruction stated that 72 percent of schools in the state received a
grade of C or better, and that 28 percent of schools in the state had
received a D or F. By comparison, in Dare County, 100 percent of
schools received a grade C or better, and none received a D or F.
As a caveat to that observation regarding overall grades, Burgess
pointed out in the news release that she is greatly concerned about the
letter grades in math assigned to all three middle schools, a D.
“Since we received the preliminary scores, principals and teachers have
been studying last year’s results and looking for improvement
strategies that can be implemented immediately,” said Burgess. “But
after reviewing the statewide results for all middle schools, I find it
disconcerting to see that 67 percent, or a full two-thirds of the
state’s middle schools, received a D or an F in math. There appears to
be a statewide disconnect between the middle grades math curriculum and
the testing that goes with it.”
Burgess added that her staff has contacted a math consultant from the
Department of Public Instruction to provide training and conduct
demonstration lessons. Superintendents in the Northeast Regional
Service Alliance are collaborating to provide local workshops and to
review the efficacy of mid-year tests which are supposed to measure the
effectiveness of instruction to date.
“I said this last year, and I’ll say it again,” Burgess continued. “I
have major reservations about assigning a letter grade to a school
based on a small number of state tests in reading, math, and science.
Schools teach other subjects and provide a wide array of customer
services that cannot be measured by 17 tests. Schools are much more