Preliminary test scores show DPS holding steady

Aug. 18, 2014 @ 06:39 PM

The school district rolled out new preliminary data Monday that show Durham students holding steady with a 34.8 percent proficiency rating on the latest round of Common Core State testing.

DPS students scored at a 34 percent clip for the previous 2012-13 school year, a little more than 10 points below the 44.7 percent state average proficiency rate for standardized end-of-grade tests. The tests cover reading and math in third through eighth grade, science tests for fifth- and eighth-graders and end-of-course tests in three high school subjects.

For the 2013-14 school year, the school district lost some ground compared to the state overall, falling 11.4 percentage points behind the 46.2 percent state proficiency rating.

One highlight on the most recent tests is a 21.2 percentage point gain in Math I, which is commonly known as algebra 1. Durham students’ proficiency jumped from 27.8 percent to 49 percent.

Durham students also saw modest gains in fifth-grade science, where proficiency increased 7.7 percentage points, from 35.7 percent to 43.4 percent.

“There are areas of celebration but also areas for concern,” said Superintendent Bert L’Homme, pointing out that the district’s high school graduation rate increased from 79.6 percent to 81.3 percent.

L’Homme said the school district still has work to do and that student achievement is the district’s top priority.

Parents of some DPS students received individual scores over the weekend.

However, the data provided Monday was not broken down by individual schools. DPS officials said the breakdown for individual schools will come in the fall.

The state Board of Education is scheduled to certify final scores when it meets in October.

The new state Common Core Standards have been controversial in North Carolina.

Earlier this summer, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill passed by the General Assembly mandating a review of the Common Core Standards after a grassroots group of parents lobbied state lawmakers to repeal them.

The standards will remain in place through this school year, but a new state commission will review the standards and choos new ones, with Common Core remaining a possibility.