01/12/10 — Council releases district report card

View Archive

Council releases district report card

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 12, 2010 1:46 PM

A higher percentage of Wayne County public schools met or exceeded state ABCs program growth standards for 11 of the past 13 years (84.6 percent) than schools statewide. Johnston County was the only other surrounding school system to achieve the same percentage.

The announcement was made Monday by Dr. Ed Wilson, chairman of the Education Council of the Wayne Chamber of Commerce's Wayne Education Network. It is the third in a series of "report cards" the Council is releasing on the state of education in the county.

Wayne schools failed to meet expected growth in 1997 and 2005. In 1997, 50 percent of the county schools made expected growth -- 6.7 percent less than the number of schools statewide. In 2007, 66.7 percent made expected growth -- 2.5 percent less than the statewide figure.

While Wayne schools tied the Johnston County system at 84.6 percent, its mean percentage of schools making expected growth was 77.3 percent, 3.9 percent better than the state, but not as good as Johnston's 81.5 percent.

Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Sampson counties met ABC goals in 5 of the past 13 years for 38.5 percent, while Duplin and Wilson met the standards 4 out of 13 years for 30.8 percent.

The mean percentages for those system for schools making expected growth were: Duplin, 65.1 percent; Greene, 64.8 percent; Lenoir, 71.3 percent; Sampson, 68.4 percent; Pitt, 71.2 percent; and Wilson 67.4 percent. The statewide mean for the 13-year period was 73.4 percent.

"This is our first report related to the ABC program," Wilson said. "This is the program that was mandated by the General Assembly in 1996. Basically what this does is set growth and performance standards for each elementary, middle and high school and they use end-of-grade testing and end-of-course testing to measure a school's performance.

"For 11 of the 13 years, and that is the total time that the program has been in existence, a higher percentage of Wayne County public schools have met or exceeded the growth standards. We exceeded the gross standards that are set by the state."

Several things are significant, but one significant thing is how Wayne fared when compared to surrounding school systems, Wilson said.

"Also, North Carolina is one of only eight states that have raised one or more of their academic proficiency standards according to a study released by the Federal Department of Education Research Office," Wilson said. "The study also found that 15 states had lowered their standards."

End-of-grade test standards for grades 3 through 8 were raised at the end of 2007 for 2008 for reading, while the standard for math was raised in 2005 for 2006.

The standards for the high school end-of-course tests were raised in 2006.

"We are pleased to report this success in the ABCs program by the Wayne County Public School System," he said. "So in raising these standards they made it more difficult for the schools to meet (the standards) which to me, it just adds to what we have been able to do.

"Nobody is happy with these numbers, but we are making progress and we just need to continue to do everything that we can to ensure every kid makes it and every school makes it every year. We still have a long way to go to ensure that every child meets the standards so that they can successfully graduate and go into the workforce or to more education well-prepared."

However, Wilson said he thinks the community should still be pleased with the numbers and progress.

"There is one other measurement and that is ABC Performance that is a more of a kid-by-kid kind of thing," he said. "We are going to take a look at that data. That is probably not as favorable data as this, but we are going to release that, too."

That data is student performance which is a little bit different than school performance, he said.

"It is based on individual student performance and what their expected growth would have been from year to another," Wilson said.

That data should be ready in about a month, he said.