Most Orange schools met, exceeded growth on testing

Nov. 16, 2013 @ 10:12 AM

More than 75 percent of Orange County Schools’ students met both state and federal targets as revealed with the release of the 2012-13 test scores on Nov. 7.
The scores were presented to the OCS board of education at its regular business meeting Tuesday. Overall, the district met 86.5 percent of its state targets and 92.1 percent of the federal targets.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction released on Nov. 7 the end of year testing results for districts across the state. Originally set to be released in August, the scores were delayed until the state could establish what would be considered passing and failing scores.
According to the results, Orange County Schools had three of its 12 schools exceed state growth, seven met state growth status and all of the district’s schools met 84 percent or higher on federal targets.
“I was very pleased to celebrate the successes of our district,” OCS Superintendent Gerri Martin said in an email. “It is evident that our teachers and staffs worked very hard last year. We had 10 of 12 schools who met or exceeded growth under the new bar. We were also above the state averages in all but one tested area.”
OCS had a four-year cohort graduation rate of 82.5 percent and a five-year cohort graduation rate of 87.4 percent. The district also met 100 percent of the state targets in several areas: reading and math in third through eighth grades, fifth- and eighth-grade science,  10th-grade reading, current year End-of-Course tests, attendance and ACT WorkKeys.
The schools that did not meet or exceed growth are Efland Cheek Elementary and A.L. Stanback Middle.
Orange High, Gravely Hill Middle, C.W. Stanford Middle, Pathways Elementary, Hillsborough Elementary, Grady A. Brown Elementary and Central Elementary all met expected growth for the 2012-13 school year.
Cameron Park Elementary, New Hope Elementary and Cedar Ridge High all exceeded growth status.
Among the missed state targets were several subgroups in 10th-grade math, 11th-grade science, the ACT, math course rigor and the graduation rate among the economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities.
Test for districts nationwide dropped with the introduction of new standards.
Martin sent a letter home to parents alerting them to the possible drop in test scores as new tests and curriculum have been adopted to help “all students to be on track for success in college and career when they graduate from high school.”
Sent with the letters were Individual Student Reports of each child’s test scores that was meant to help parents and schools address the individual needs of each student.
“A standardized test score is just a single indicator of student performance and just one piece of the educational picture in a school district,” Martin’s letter to families said. “Your child’s teacher can best describe your child’s performance on the tests in addition to specific strengths and weaknesses observed throughout the school year.”
Martin added that, “while it is important for us to celebrate, it is also important for us to always seek ways to do better in reaching every student.”