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1997-98 ABCs Report Card, Volume I - Executive Summary


Foreword
Main ABCs Vol. 1 Page | Executive Summary | Program Notes | Technical Notes

A Report Card for the ABCs of Public Education Volume I, Growth and Performance of North Carolina Schools 1997-98 is published in accordance with the School-Based Management and Accountability Act (1996) of the North Carolina General Assembly. The School-Based Management and Accountability Program, also known as the ABCs of Public Education (or just the ABCs) is the statewide school-based accountability program for public schools in North Carolina. This document reports the results of the 1997-98 ABCs, which is the second year's implementation of the ABCs in the state's K-8 schools, and the first year of implementation of the ABCs in the state's high schools.

The 1996-97 results of the ABCs of Public Education in K-8 schools were presented to the State Board of Education in a report in August 1997. In November 1997 these same data were incorporated and published in the State Report Card. This year, the August ABCs report to the State Board of Education is published as A Report Card for the ABCs of Public Education, Volume I. Volume II, containing subgroup statistics and supplemental data, will be published later in the fall of 1997-98.

The Report Card for the ABCs of Public Education, Volume I is divided into two parts, with Part I reporting the results for K-8 schools, and Part II reporting the results for High Schools. (Schools with grades in both the K-8 and 9-12 grade ranges appear in both Part I and Part II.) In Parts I and II, Section A presents the growth or gain and performance of North Carolina's public schools. Sections B through G categorize schools by Schools of Excellence, Schools of Distinction, Top 25/10, Exemplary Growth/Gain, Expected Growth/Gain, and Low-Performing schools. Charter Schools are included among the other public schools listed in these categories, and they also are listed in a separate section H for easy reference. Appendix A to Volume I explains program adjustments and options related to this year's accountability models, and Appendix B includes technical notes describing how statistical computations were implemented. Appendix C contains a listing of North Carolina public schools excluded from this report. A Glossary is provided at the end of Volume I that defines terms used in this publication.



Executive Summary
Main ABCs Vol. 1 Page | Foreword | Program Notes | Technical Notes | Schools Not Included | Glossary


Background

The State Board of Education developed the ABCs of Public Education in response to the School-Based Management and Accountability Program (SB 1139) enacted by the General Assembly in June 1996. The ABCs focuses on strong accountability with an emphasis on high educational standards; teaching the basics; and maximum local control. An accountability model for elementary and middle schools was implemented in 1996-97. The high school accountability model was developed during 1996-97, and was implemented for the first time in 1997-98. This report gives the results of the 1997-98 implementation of the ABCs in all public schools of North Carolina.

The ABCs Accountability Model for K-8 establishes growth standards for each elementary and middle school in the state. Schools that attain specified levels of growth are eligible for incentive awards or other recognition (including Schools of Excellence, Schools of Distinction or Top 25 Schools in Academic Growth). Schools where growth and performance fall below specified levels are designated as low-performing. Outcomes are based on data collected during the 1997-98 school year and one previous year (for reading and mathematics) or two previous years (for writing in grades 4 and 7). To be eligible for incentive awards, schools also must not have excessive exemptions and must test at least 98% of their eligible students.

The ABCs High School Accountability Model establishes standards for improvement in each high school in the state. Schools that improve are eligible for incentive awards or other recognition (including Schools of Excellence, Schools of Distinction or Top 10 High Schools in North Carolina). Those who fail to improve and whose performance in the current year falls below a specified level are designated as low-performing. Outcomes are based on data collected during the 1997-98 school year and two previous years. To be eligible for incentive awards, schools must not have excessive exemptions and must test at least 95% of students enrolled in specific courses for which End-of-Course tests are given.

Schools that serve students in grades K-8 and grades 9-12 are subject to both the Accountability Model for K-8 and the High School Accountability model. For 1997-98 only, such schools could choose to be treated separately under each model or to be evaluated with a comprehensive model that combines the standards from both models into a single analysis. In 1997-98-99, the comprehensive approach will be used for all schools.


Participating schools

In 1997-98, every school that contained one or more of the grades 3-12 and that collected the appropriate data participated in the ABCs. Appropriate data for elementary schools included testing results in reading, mathematics, and writing. Appropriate data for high schools included End of Course (EOC) testing results in Algebra I; English I; Biology; U.S. History; Economic, Legal and Political Systems (ELPS); English II (Writing); and numbers of students completing College Prep/College Tech Prep courses of study. K-2 schools sending more than half of their students to a single receiving school were eligible for incentive awards if the receiving school earned an incentive award based on meeting its growth standard. Alternative schools and special schools without sufficient data were eligible for prorated incentive awards if one or more of the schools they served earned incentive awards.


Analyses

The status of schools was determined based on the values of composite scores computed for expected growth/gain, exemplary growth/gain, and percentage of students at or above grade level. The term "growth composites" is used with K-8 schools; the term "gain composite" is used with high schools.

The expected growth composite is based on three factors: statewide average growth, the previous performance of students in the school, and a statistical adjustment which is needed whenever test scores of students are compared from one year to the next. The exemplary growth composite factors in an additional ten percent above the statewide average growth. Growth composites are based on two years of data for reading and mathematics and three years of data for writing. The performance composite (the percentage of students scoring at or above grade level) is based on reading, mathematics, and writing data available for the current year. Consequently, the 1997-98 scores for all students in reading, mathematics and writing are used in the performance composite.

For high schools, the expected gain composite is based on making improvement over the performance of students at the school in previous years. The exemplary gain composite requires that a school improve by a specific amount over and above expected. Gain composites are based on three years of data for EOC and English II tests and two years of data on College Prep and College Tech Prep completion. The high school performance composite (the percentage of students scoring at or above Level III) is based on the Algebra I, Biology, ELPS, English I and II, and U.S. History test data available for the current year, with one exception. The Algebra I scores of ninth graders who took Algebra I prior to ninth grade are included in the high school's performance composite.

Schools with grade ranges which spanned the K-8 and high school models could choose to be evaluated as two separate schools for this accountability year. Otherwise, they were evaluated as comprehensive schools, with the K-8 grades combined with the high school grades. These schools are denoted by footnotes and appear in Part I and Part II of this report.

The ABCs results published here were produced on a Compaq Computer, Model DP600MMX 4300/CDS, Pentium(r) with 128 Mb RAM running under Windows 95 Version 4.00.950a. Additional detail and technical information about ABCs analyses are provided in the Appendices.


Definition of Awards and Recognition Categories

Schools have been classified into several categories for the purpose of incentive awards and recognition. The award or recognition a school receives is determined in most cases by the school's attainment as reflected in the growth or gain composites (expected and exemplary) and the performance composite. (Exceptions are explained in the Appendix.) The categories are defined as follows.


Schools of Excellence

A School of Excellence is a school that meets its expected growth (K-8) or expected gain (high school) standard and has at least 90 percent of its students performing at or above grade level for K-8 schools, or at or above Achievement Level III for high schools. Such schools will be recognized at a statewide luncheon sponsored by the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction in October, 1997-98. They will receive a dated banner to hang in the school and a certificate. In addition, they will receive whatever financial award they earn as having met expected or exemplary status.


Schools of Distinction

A School of Distinction is a school that has at least 80 percent of its students performing at or above grade level (for K-8 schools), or at or above Achievement Level III (for high schools) irrespective of growth or gain (but does not qualify as a School of Excellence). Distinguished schools will receive a plaque and a certificate.


Top 25 Schools in Academic Growth and Top 10 High Schools

The Top 25 are K-8 schools that have attained the State's 25 highest values on the exemplary growth composite. The Top 10 are high schools that have attained the State's 10 highest values on the exemplary gain composite. These schools will be recognized at the statewide luncheon in October 1997-98. In addition, they will receive a dated banner to hang in the school, a certificate and school incentive awards.


Exemplary Schools

Exemplary Schools are those that attain their exemplary growth (K-8) or exemplary gain (high schools) standard. They will receive a certificate and school incentive awards.


Schools that Meet Expected Growth Standards

Schools that attain their expected growth (K-8) or expected gain (high schools) standard [but not their exemplary growth (K-8) or exemplary gain (high schools) standard] will receive a certificate of recognition and school incentive awards.


Schools Having Adequate Performance

These schools do not meet their expected growth or expected gain standards; but they have at least half their students scoring at or above grade level (K-8), or at or above Achievement Level III (high schools), as measured by the performance composite.


Low-Performing Schools

Low-Performing Schools are those that fail to meet their expected growth or expected gain standard and have significantly less than 50% of their students performing at or above grade level (K-8), or at or above Achievement Level III (high schools).

In addition to the growth and performance standards, there are testing requirements that all schools must meet. K-8 schools must test at least 98% of their eligible students. (Students who are individually exempted from testing in accordance with guidelines for North Carolina testing programs are not considered "eligible.") High schools must test at least 95% of all students enrolled in courses for which EOC tests are given. Also, schools must not have excessive exemptions.

In this report, schools that violate testing requirements are assigned a violation status and cannot receive another ABCs status, except low-performing. The low-performing schools that violate testing requirements are assigned the low-performing status in addition to the violation status.

Schools that violate any of the testing requirements are not eligible for incentive awards. In addition, schools that violate testing requirements for two years may be designated as low-performing by the State Board of Education.


Presentation of Results

The results are presented in A Report Card for the ABCs of Public Education, Volume I, in two parts. Part I presents the results for K-8 schools, and Part II presents the results for high schools. Each of these parts is subdivided into sections A through H (K-8), and sections A through G (high schools). These sections present the following categories of ABCs results: (A) a listing of school growth (Part I) or gain (Part II) and performance, by LEA; (B) a listing of schools, identified as Schools of Excellence, by LEA; (C) a listing of schools identified as Schools of Distinction, by LEA; (D) a listing of the Top 25 K-8 Schools in Academic Growth (Part I) and a listing of the Top 10 High Schools (Part II); (E) a listing of schools, identified as making exemplary growth (Part I) or exemplary gain (Part II), by LEA; (F) a listing of schools, identified as making only expected growth (Part I) or expected gain (Part II), by LEA; (G) a listing of schools identified as low performing, by LEA - also sorted by the expected growth (Part I) or gain (Part II) composite, and by the performance composite; and, (H) a listing of K-8 Charter schools.

In Part I, Section A, Growth and Performance of K-8 Schools in North Carolina 1997-98, writing data for grade 4 and grade 7 are provided under the appropriate column heading. If a K-8 school had data for only one of the two grades, a zero appears in the columns for which there were no data. If a school had no writing data for either of these two grades, a zero appears in both columns. A zero also appears if a school had writing data, but no students were at or above grade level in writing.

In Part II, Section A, Gain and Performance of High Schools in North Carolina 1997-98, data for expected and exemplary gain in Algebra I do not reflect students who took Algebra I prior to grade 9. However, these data are included in the computations for the high school performance composite, and are reflected in the Composite column.

Appendices to this volume contain information on programmatic and technical modifications that were applied to the 1997-98 ABCs models. Appendix A includes notes on program adjustments and options and explains the footnotes denoting special cases in the report. Appendix B contains technical notes on the implementation of the K-8 and high school accountability models. Appendix C provides a listing of schools that were not included in this report for various reasons. Explanations of exclusions are given for each list.

A glossary is provided at the end of Volume I that explains terms used in this document.


Statistical Summary of Results


K-8 Schools

In 1997-98, there were 1,719 K-8 public schools that participated in the ABCs. These included traditional public schools, Charter Schools, alternative schools and special schools (e.g., hospital schools, ungraded schools and those serving students with disabilities). K-2 schools that fed more than 50% of their students into a single receiving school in 1997-98 were assigned ABCs status based on the status attained by the receiving school. Alternative/special schools that did not have sufficient data were assigned ABCs status on the basis of the highest performance of the schools they served. All other schools attained their status on the basis of the data they submitted.

ABCs Results for Elementary and Middle Schools
  Number of Schools  
Award or Recognition Category K-8 Alt. Total %*
Exemplary Schools 1075 57 1132 65.9
Schools Meeting Expected Growth (not Exemplary) 307 2 309 18.0
Schools Having Adequate Performance 262   262 15.2
Low-Performing Schools 15   15 0.9
Violated Testing Requirements 1   1 0.1
Total ABCs Schools 1660 59 1719 100.1

* Percents do not total 100 due to rounding.

In addition, the following numbers of schools received special recognition. (These categories may overlap categories in the above table.)

Elementary and Middle Schools Receiving Other Recognition
Category Number of Schools Percent of Schools
Schools of Excellence 24 1.4
Schools of Distinction 290 16.9
Top 25 Schools in Academic Growth 26 1.5

Note: Two schools tied for 25th place among the Top 25.

Overall, 83.9 % of the elementary and middle schools met either expected or exemplary growth standards under the K-8 or comprehensive model.


High Schools

In 1997-98, there were 416 high schools that participated in the ABCs. These included traditional public schools, alternative schools and special schools (e.g., hospital schools, ungraded schools and those serving students with disabilities). Alternative/special schools that did not have sufficient data were assigned ABCs status on the basis of the highest performance of the schools they served. All other schools attained their status on the basis of the data they submitted.

ABCs Results for High Schools
  Number of Schools  
Award or Recognition Category 9-12 Alt. Total %
Exemplary Schools 198 64 262 63.0
Schools Meeting Expected Gain (not Exemplary) 78 4 82 19.7
Schools Having Adequate Performance 51   51 12.3
Low-Performing Schools 15   15 3.6
Violated Testing Requirements 6   6 1.4
Total ABCs Schools 348 68 416 100.0

In addition, the following numbers of schools received special recognition. (These categories may overlap categories in the above table.)

High Schools Receiving Other Recognition
Category Number of Schools Percent of Schools
Schools of Excellence 0 0.0
Schools of Distinction 1 0.2
Top 10 High Schools 10 2.4

Overall, 82.7 % of the high schools met either expected or exemplary gain standards under the high school model or the comprehensive model.

Results for elementary/middle schools and high schools should not be combined this year, because some schools are included in both summaries. For example, some schools were evaluated with separate accountability models for their K-8 grades and their high school grades under a provision of the State Board of Education for the 1997-98 year only. Such schools appear in both statistical summaries above, but their inclusion in a particular summary is based on only the applicable grades. Other schools were analyzed with the comprehensive model and these also appear in both summaries, but their ABCs status is based on all of their grades. Therefore some information is duplicated in the two statistical summaries. In 1997-98-99, all schools will be subject to the comprehensive accountability model.


Top of Page | Main ABCs Vol. 1 Page | Foreword | Program Notes | Technical Notes | Schools Not Included | Glossary

 


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