03/21/11 — Results on tests cause slip, but scores higher

View Archive

Results on tests cause slip, but scores higher

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 21, 2011 1:46 PM

Wayne County's high school students dropped from third to sixth when compared to how eight other local school systems fared on the composite end-of-course tests. But despite the decline, Wayne high school students improved their proficiency on the tests from 70.7 percent in 2008-09 to 79.04 in 2009-10.

The county's eighth-graders continued their good showing in the end-of-grade reading and math tests, while third-graders are still struggling on their end-of-grade testing performance

"We ranked seventh in (third grade) math having dropped from sixth last year, but the amazing thing about it consistently is our eighth-grade scores are improved over the third-grade scores," said Ed Wilson chairman of the Wayne Education Network of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. "Last year, the same thing was in effect."

Results in reading were similar.

The information was included in the fourth of a series of report cards issued by the Wayne Education Network. The report focused on the 2009-10 academic performance of Wayne students as compared to eight other area school systems as measured by the state's ABCs of Public Education.

The ABCs of Public Education was developed by the state Board of Education in response to a General Assembly-mandated accountability program. That accountability program established growth and performance standards for students in elementary, middle and high schools.

The end-of-grade tests for elementary and middle school students and end-of-course for high school students are used to measure a student's growth and performance.

In third grade math results, Wayne slipped from sixth to seventh place at 77.7 percent proficiency just above Greene County (74.6 percent) and Pitt County (72 percent). Johnston County led the nine systems (88.6 percent). Duplin County was fourth (84.2 percent).

Wayne's eighth-graders finished second in math at 85.5 behind Johnston County's 92 percent. Duplin County was fifth at 83.6 percent.

Wilson called the test improvements from the third to eighth grade a "significant" increase and said that it was a highlight of the math end-of-year results.

In third grade reading results, Wayne dropped from fifth (59.4 percent) to sixth (58.7 percent). Wake led the nine systems at 72.5 percent. Duplin was fifth at 60.2 percent.

Despite the drop in the high school scores, Wilson said he still thinks students are "doing a good job."

"As you can tell there is always room for improvement," he said. "I tell you what is significant to me is that 65 percent of the kids are on free/reduced lunches. That shows a high level of poverty and for our schools to perform as well as they do based on that, I think is remarkable."

Duplin County high school students ranked sixth at 61.5 percent.

The data in the report is from the state Department of Public Instruction website so that anyone can look at it, he said.

A fifth report card, this one on how the county's career and technical students compare to students in the state, could be forthcoming, Wilson said.

"I think that people need to understand that the kids in career and technical education graduate at a high level, perform at a higher level," he said.