Test scores low, as expected

Nov. 07, 2013 @ 02:07 PM

As expected, the results of state standardized testing released Thursday showed fewer Durham Public Schools students passing than in recent years.
DPS officials had predicted that scores showing student proficiency would drop 30 to 40 percentage points under the state’s new READY accountability program that incorporates Common Core Standards in English and mathematics.
Overall, the proficiency rate for Durham students was 34 percent, with Fayetteville Street Elementary School posting a proficiency rating of 10.3, the lowest in the district.
“Common Core and other new state standards radically changed the way our teachers teach and our students learn,” DPS Superintendent Eric J. Becoats said in a statement. “We significantly raised the bar, and now we have a new baseline from which to grow.”
On the positive side of the data released Thursday, Durham School of the Arts, with a proficiency rating of 59.4 percent, led eight schools with proficiency ratings above 50 percent.
The others were Pearsontown Elementary at 59.2, J.D. Clement Early College High School at 56.9, Mangum Elementary at 54.8, Easley Elementary at 54.4, Morehead Montessori at 54 percent, Forest View Elementary at 51.3 and Little River Elementary at 50.6.
In spite of the struggles to rise to the new standards, state data show that 77 percent of DPS schools met or exceeded academic growth in 2012-13
Meanwhile, the overall passing rate for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools was 68.5 percent with only two schools – Carrboro and Frank Porter Graham elementary schools dipping below 60 percent.
The proficiency ratings at those two schools were 54.7 percent and 53.8 percent respectively.
The proficiency rating at six of the district’s 17 schools rose above 70 percent.
Those schools are Seawell, Scroggs, Rashkis and Glennwood elementary schools, Smith Middle School and East Chapel Hill High School.  
“This means our students will be competitive with students throughout the United States and with their peers from other countries,” CHCCS Superintendent Tom Forcella said. “More importantly, all students will be able to read at a college level with sufficient content.”
The district met 96.6 percent of the 560 federal goals and 94.6 percent of the 947 state goals.
Of 27 achievement goals missed, 20 were for economically disadvantaged students.

"We recognized there is one group that stands out in the data, one group whose academic needs are not being met,” Forcella said. “Our district’s greatest challenge is bringing up the proficiency levels of our economically disadvantaged students.”