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Two schools earn high test scores

Published 11:07pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

Two Beaufort County Schools scored the top designation this year from an N.C. Department of Public Instruction report on school performance goals, the ABCs of Public Education.
The Beaufort County Early College High School and Chocowinity Primary School are two of 278 schools, or 11.2 percent, statewide to earn the Honor School of Excellence designation for the 2011-2012 school year, according to the report.
This is the third year in a row the Beaufort County Early College High School, a learn-and-earn high school, earned the Honor School of Excellence designation — meaning 90 percent or more of its students met or exceeded growth standards as measured by end-of-grade or end-of-course testing and met the new Annual Measureable Objectives, according to the report released Thursday.
At BCECHS, 96.7 percent of its students met or exceeded the standard, making scores at that high school on end-of-grade or end-of-course tests the best in the county, according to the report. Last year, 97.3 percent of its students met or exceeded the standards.
Also at BCECHS, all students met Annual Measurable Objectives for 2011-2012 on their tests, according to the report.
With a 90-percent composite score, Chocowinity Primary School earned the Honor School of Excellence designation for the second year in a row. Last year, 90.6 percent of its students met or exceeded growth standards, according to the report.
Also at Chocowinity Primary School, all students met Annual Measurable Objectives on their tests, according to the report.
The 2011-2012 report includes some changes from previous years’ reports. This year, the state used Annual Measureable Objectives instead of Annual Yearly Progress and listed the number of those targets met as well as the percentage of targets met by each school and school system.
The AMO status addresses whether the students in the school as a whole and in each identified group within that school met the performance targets set by the state, with the goal of reducing the percentage of nonproficient students.
“Our schools have a great deal to be excited about with the release of the 2011-2012 scores, especially our high schools,” said Don Phipps, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools. “Third-grade reading scores were another area where our schools saw improvements, but we know there is still much work to be done.”
“These improvements show the work of our teachers and students’ work is paying off,” he said.
This is the last year the ABCs report will be issued by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. It will be replaced next year with a report that emphasizes student readiness for college and work and compares scores to national averages, according to state education officials.
Debuting more than 15 years ago, the ABCs report measures the academic growth of students. Schools are then recognized based on their results.
The report also measures “growth” or the expectation that an individual student performs as well, or better, on end-of-grade tests as she or he did, on average, during the previous two years.
Despite criticisms from some that the ABCs report forces teachers to “teach to the test,” educators generally agree that by focusing on growth trends over time, the ABCs report also gives educators a valuable tool to track groups of students. That gives school leaders the chance to focus on problem areas within individual schools.
Ten of Beaufort County’s 14 public schools met or exceeded growth for the 2011-2012 school year, the same as in the 2010-2011 school year, including seven that met high-growth standards. Those meeting high-growth standards included Northside, Southside and Washington high schools and Bath Elementary, Chocowinity Primary, Northeast Elementary and S.W. Snowden Elementary schools. Beaufort County Early College High School and P.S. Jones Middle School met expected growth standards.
Three schools — Bath Elementary, Southside High School and Washington High School — earned the School of Distinction designation for 2011-2012, meaning that 80 percent of their students met or exceeded growth standards, according to the report.
Bath Elementary School received an 82.6-percent composite score; Southside High School got an 88.5-percent composite score and Washington High School received an 83.3-percent composite score. In 2010-2011, Bath Elementary School received an 83.8-percent composite score, Southside High School got an 80.2-percent composite score and Washington High School had a 71.7-percent composite score.
Four schools received the School of Progress designation. These schools met or exceeded growth marks and at least 60 percent of their students scored at or above an acceptable passing grade on end-of-grade or end of course tests: Northeast Elementary, Northside High, P.S. Jones Middle and S.W. Snowden Elementary schools.
Last year, three Beaufort County schools received the designation.
Four schools received a no-recognition designation. Those schools did not hit their growth marks, but at least 60 percent of their students scored at or above an acceptable passing grade: Eastern Elementary, Chocowinity Middle, John C. Tayloe and John Small Elementary schools. Last year, five Beaufort County schools received a no-recognition designation.
Eastern Elementary School does not have third grade or higher, so its designation is determined by the school its students subsequently attend. Since John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School received no recognition, Eastern Elementary received that designation, according to the report.
In 2011-2012, no schools in Beaufort County received designation as a priority school — meaning less than 50 percent of students scored at or above an acceptable passing grade — and no Beaufort County school was designated as low-performing.
A total of 2,482 public schools and public charter schools were assigned a status in the ABCs of Public Education.
Washington Montessori Public Charter School had not provided the Daily News its performance data as of Thursday afternoon, but the NCDPI website shows the school, a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school, did not meet expected-performance standards nor high-performance standards. It’s performance composite was 88.3 percent, according to the website. The school met all of its AMO targets.

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