08/05/05 — Wayne schools get report cards

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Wayne schools get report cards

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 5, 2005 1:53 PM

North Carolina school report cards are in, with good news for some Wayne County schools and more work ahead for others.

Not counting sixth-grade reading scores helped keep Goldsboro High School off the state's sanctions list. Dropping the numbers also improved the status of three middle schools.

In total, 20 schools in Wayne County made either expected or high growth. Two elementary schools earned the highest title of Honor Schools of Excellence, with 10 named Schools of Distinction.

Earlier this week, Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for accountability, explained the preliminary findings to the Board of Education. He said that the scores reflected performance similar to how students did in 2004 and that the school system had reached a plateau. At the same time, he said that data coming in from around the state indicates other school systems are in the same situation.

The only school recognized as "Low Performing" in the state ABC model's preliminary numbers was Goldsboro High School, with a performance score of 49.7. By definition, the school could have been subject to statutory requirements such as parental notification and state assistance.

McFadden said the State Board of Education enforced a special condition under No Child Left Behind, called the confidence interval.

"It's always been used in No Child Left Behind, but never in the ABCs," he said. "This is the first year I have ever seen it used."

The measure, he said, allows for the margin of error that can occur during testing.

"Any time you give a lot of tests, there's a band of error around a test score," he explained. "They call that a confidence interval, certain plusses and minuses.

"They use the upper limit of that confidence interval, which moved that score to 53.5."

McFadden said the move means the state board implemented the move means that Goldsboro High is now considered a priority school.

As a result of the reading scores being thrown out, Norwayne Middle School moved from expected growth to high growth and Rosewood Middle School also made high growth, making them both Schools of Distinction. Spring Creek High School also moved to expected growth status and became a School of Progress.

Two schools received the title Honor School of Excellence, Tommy's Road Elementary and Northwest Elementary schools. The title means the schools scored between 90-100 percent, met AYP and made expected growth.

Ten were named a School of Distinction, which means 80-89 percent of students scored at or above grade level, made expected or high growth, and met AYP. The list includes Charles B. Aycock High, Eastern Wayne Elementary, Eastern Wayne High, Fremont STARS Elementary, Greenwood Middle, Meadow Lane Elementary, Norwayne Middle, Rosewood High, Rosewood Middle, and Spring Creek Elementary

Schools with 60-79 percent scoring at or above grade level, making expected or high growth and meeting AYP, are considered Schools of Progress. Wayne County had six: Brogden Primary, Carver Elementary, Carver Heights Elementary, School Street Elementary, Southern Wayne High, and Spring Creek High.

Any of the above making less than expected growth receive no recognition. On that list are Brogden Middle, Dillard Middle, Eastern Wayne Middle, Grantham, Mount Olive Middle, Rosewood Elementary, North Drive Elementary, and Northeast Elementary schools.

A Priority School means 50-59 percent of students scored at or above grade level, whether or not expected growth is achieved. Local schools on that list are Goldsboro High, Goldsboro Middle, Belfast Academy, and Southern Academy.

Edgewood Community Developmental School is assessed differently and the growth component scores were not yet available.

Admittedly confident in the efforts being made to comply with the rigid standards and expectations of state and federal tests, McFadden said he anticipates challenges down the road.

"Continued gains are going to be difficult," he said. "When you get down to the last 15 to 18 percent, we're talking the very, very difficult ones to reach.

"It's going to take additional work, additional strategies, additional resources."

He said the schools and educators have done a marvelous job.

"Now it's just where it's going to take something more than the traditional 180 school days to reach the last few kids," he said.

Two high schools, Eastern Wayne and Rosewood, made adequate yearly progress this year. The remaining four did not.

Many of the schools that missed making AYP only did so by a few target goals, he said.

AYP is only one assessment used to gauge academic progress at schools. Under the model, students are classified into 10 categories and a school may have multiple subgroups.

"Each of those subgroups must make certain target goals in reading and math," McFadden said. "Thus, the performance of a single subgroup can cause a school not to make AYP."

In the case of Goldsboro High, students met 12 of 13 target goals, which translates to 92.3 percent of them, but did not make AYP.

Charles B. Aycock High School met 15 of 17 target goals, or 88.2 percent of them.

Spring Creek High had the most goals to meet, with 35.

While the high schools are not subject to the same sanctions under the No Child Left Behind requirements, schools superintendent Dr. Steve Taylor said the school system is still committed to making sure all students reach the proficiency standards and that the high schools make AYP.

This year, the model counted high school scores for AYP for students who already took the End-of-Course tests in English I, Algebra I and the writing test. Those students who did not take the EOCs took the 10th grade comprehensive test to determine AYP.