CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox is reacting to the latest CMS test scores he has reviewed.
"My heart sunk a little bit." Wilcox said.
Wilcox and CMS officials shared the test results Thursday at Nations Ford Elementary School. Administrators say there were some high points but some low points in the results as well. There was a dip in college and career reading scores for students in third through eighth grades. On average, there was a 1.7 point decrease.
Test scores show only 46.5 percent of CMS third graders are making the grade in reading. In 2016, the number was 49.6 percent.
Another surprise is there was a decrease in CMS schools that met or exceeded growth. Last year, there were 141 schools or 85.5 percent of CMS schools who met or exceeded growth. This year, 119 schools are meeting or exceeding growth, which is 72.6 percent of the schools.
Mary McCray, who is a CMS school board member, is responding to the test results.
"Somewhat disappointed as a board member," McCray said. "We were confident that things were going to look even better that what they did in previous years."
McCray says Ann Clark, who is the former superintendent of CMS, promised higher scores.
"We thought with her guidance and everything that she was telling that we were going to see a real pop this year in our scores," McCray said. "I don't know where the ball was d ropped."
The school board chairperson is now looking to the new superintendent to boost academic achievement.
"That's his responsibility and that's what we'll hold him to," McCray said.
There was an increase in math and english II scores, but a decline in reading, science and biology scores.
"I am an old science teacher and that has really pained me," Wilcox said.
Wilcox wants schools to narrow their focus when it comes to academic achievement. He says he will take an inventory of all the program that are being used and have principals use the ones that work.
"You've got to do what you are challenged to do well, rather than do everything people would perhaps like you to do," Wilcox said.
The new superintendent admits educating students is becoming harder and harder. When asked will the scores improve next year, he responded with uncertainty.
"I can't promise that we are going to improve next year," the superintendent said. "I can promise we will work very hard each and every day to create the conditions where by students can learn more and be more effective in taking these tests."
The district has made plans to move forward to help increase test scores. Plans include a having stronger focus on literacy skills and pairing second graders with reading partners. The superintendent believes CMS is more than just a set of test scores. He says he will confront the challenge and ask staff to step up their game.
"I am not going to threaten anyone," Wilcox said. "I am not going to say to someone if you don't do this - you are fired, but what I am going to say is that there is nothing more important than literacy in the 21st century. If you can't provide an environment where our young people learn, then perhaps you should consider doing something else."
You can review the presentation that CMS presented regarding test results here.