CMS releases report card; 14 of 17 test areas improve - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

CMS releases report card; 14 of 17 test areas improve

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released its 2011-2012 report card Thursday. According to the release, the district saw a proficiency increase in 14 of 17 state test areas.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction data reveals CMS showed gains ranging from half a percentage point (0.5) to more than four percentage points in performance composites for math, reading and science in grades three through eight. For high schools, scores rose by more than a percentage point in performance composites for biology (1.1) and English I (1.4).

The largest gains were made in fifth- and eighth-grade science, where composite scores rose by 2.9 percentage points in grade five and 4.2 percentage points in grade eight.

"CMS has had a huge focus on science professional development for PreK-12 teachers for the last three years that is providing teachers with more strategies and techniques to use in the classroom," said CMS Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark.

The district's composite scores declined in three areas. Sixth-grade math composite scores dropped a tenth of a point (0.1), fourth-grade reading declined by four-tenths (0.4) and composite scores for Algebra I declined by four percentage points.

East Mecklenburg HS Principal Rick Parker gives his reason why there was a decrease in Algebra scores.

"The criteria for Algebra 1," Parker said.  "Is that the kids critical thinking, for some of them it's just a hard step."

Parker says he has a plan in place to address the dip in scores.  He wants to tutor students during school instead of them coming after school.

"If we got the kids there on campus," Parker said.  "Where we can we carve time out of our schedule for remediation, so they don't have to come after school."

The district also showed some positive results in closing the gaps between groups of students. The gaps in math and science narrowed slightly for the three groups measured. The gap between African-American and white students declined by one point in grades three through eight, from 23 points in 2010-2011 to 22 points in 2011-2012. Between Hispanic and white students, it narrowed by one point, from 16 points to 15. Between economically disadvantaged students and non-economically disadvantaged students, it declined by one point from 20 to 19.

In reading grades three through eight, the gap declined by one point between African-American and white students (from 32 points in 2010-2011 to 31 in 2011-2012) and by one point between Hispanic students and white students (from 31 points to 30). Between economically disadvantaged students and their more affluent classmates, the gap held steady at 30 points for both years.

In science for grades five and eight, the gap declined in all three areas: by two points (from 32 in 2010-2011 to 30 in 2011-2012) for African-American vs. white students, by three points (from 26 to 23) for Hispanic students vs. white students, and by two points (from 27 to 25) for economically disadvantaged students vs. non-economically disadvantaged ones.

Clark attributes some of that success to a new program the district implemented last year.  A team of people now reviews students progress.  They review it two and three times.  

"We pulled counseling teams out of the schools for an extended block of time," Clark said. "Really look at the student's schedule - see where the gaps were and see where they are struggling and really put an intentional plan in.  Positioning kids for success and not leaving it to the kid."

The district's cohort graduation rate also increased in 2011-2012, rising almost two percentage points – it was 73.5 in 2010-2011 and 75.1 in 2011-2012. Six high schools had rates above 90 percent: Cato Middle College (98.98 percent), W. A. Hough (96.14 percent), Rocky River (94.18), Ardrey Kell (93.53), Providence (92.11) and Northwest School of the Arts (91.3). Nine schools had rates above 85 percent. Three schools had rates below 60 percent: Business & Finance at Garinger (57.47 percent), Math & Science at Garinger (56.98) and West Charlotte (55.70). 

"The graduation cohort rate is a priority focus for CMS – and this focus has yielded a steady increase in the percentage of students graduating for the last three years," Clark said. "This year's increase of almost two percentage points means that more students graduated in 2011-212. Those students have a better chance at success with that high school diploma."

The state has made changes in the standards that schools are expected to meet this year. North Carolina was one of the eight states receiving a flexibility waiver on certain portions of the No Child Left Behind requirements. For the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, North Carolina will no longer designate each school as meeting or not meeting the Adequate Yearly Progress standard. 

Instead, the Department of Public Instruction will report Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) and the number and percentage of these that are met at each school.

The targets within the AMOs – the standards that schools are expected to meet – have also been adjusted by the state so that they vary by subgroup. Previously, all subgroups had to meet the same standard. Under the agreement North Carolina has with the federal Education Department, the targets were based on 2010-2011 data and were set with the goal of halving the percentage of non-proficient students within six years.

To see the full ABCs report from the state, click here.

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