1998-99 ABCs Report Card, Volume I - Press Release
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 11 a.m., Aug. 5, 1999 ATTENTION RADIO NEWS DIRECTORS: Audio from
State Supt. Mike Ward is available on the ABCs Report by calling 1-800-532-0102. More
Students Proficient at Reading and Mathematics Under ABCs
Testing results for the 1998-99 ABCs of Public Education show that the percentage of K-8
students who are performing at grade level or better in reading and math continues to
increase, moving from 66.3 percent in 1997-98 to 69.1 percent in 1998-99. This represents
a 9.1 percent increase since the ABCs began in 1996-97, when 60 percent were proficient.
The State Board of Education (SBE) today released the school-by-school performance results
of the state's public schools for the 1998-99 school year. This is the third year that K-8
schools have participated in The ABCs of Public Education and the second year for high
schools under the ABCs accountability model.
The number of schools achieving Schools of Excellence recognition doubled from 24 in
1997-98 to 50 in 1998-99. Schools recognized as Schools of Distinction also increased
significantly, going from 290 in 1997-98 to 408 in 1998-99. A School of Excellence has at
least 90 percent of its students performing at or above Achievement Level III and met or
exceeded its expected growth/gain goal. A School of Distinction has at least 80 percent of
its students performing at or above Achievement Level III.
Results showed that 1,167 (58.4 percent) K-12 schools reached exemplary growth/gain status
in 1998-99, which means that the schools exceeded expected student achievement growth/gain
by an amount determined by the SBE. Overall, 81.2 percent of the schools met either
expected or exemplary growth/gain standards. In 1997-98, 83.9 percent of the K-8 schools
and 83 percent of high schools did that well. Due to the variety of grade spans (6-12,
K-12, etc.), the 1998-99 accountability model was changed to reflect a combined
accountability model instead of a K-8 model and a high school model. For K-12 schools,
22.9 percent or 457 schools made expected growth/gain in 1998-99. Another 354 schools, or
17.7 percent received no recognition. The number of low-performing schools dropped from 30
to 13, 6 of which are charter schools.
Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., said that he was pleased with the continued strong performance of
North Carolina's public school students. "I am so proud of the teachers and students
here in North Carolina. For the third straight year, they have continued to rise to the
challenge. Although there is still much work to be done, I am confident we are well on our
way to being First in America in Education."
State Superintendent Michael E. Ward praised teachers, principals, and students for their
efforts. "Teachers and principals have been under a lot of pressure to continue the
academic improvements of the past few years. Results such as these make the effort
worthwhile. I believe that as the new Student Accountability Standards are fully
implemented, the pace of improvement will be even more rapid."
School performance in The ABCs model is reported in a number of ways for K-12 schools:
expected growth/gain in student achievement, exemplary growth/gain for schools that exceed
expected growth/gain by an amount specified by the SBE, and no recognition for schools
with more than 50 percent of their students at Achievement Level III but who do not
achieve expected growth/gain. (For more detailed explanations, see the attachment,
1998-99 ABCs Categories.)
State Board of Education Chairman Phillip J. Kirk Jr., said that he is pleased with the
continued good showing of public schools. "The ABCs and Excellent Schools Act have
provided a solid foundation for continued student achievement. Nationally, the state is
recognized as only one of two states having all the components for a complete
accountability system. The key to continued success is to maintain our momentum, focus,
and bipartisan support in the General Assembly. It definitely is an exciting time for
North Carolina public schools; we're on the right track to excellence."
School performance under The ABCs will again mean incentive bonuses for many teachers and
other certified personnel. Eligible personnel at schools that meet expected growth/gain
will receive gross pay of $750 for teachers and other certified personnel and $375 for
teacher assistants. For schools classified as making exemplary growth/gain, teachers and
other certified personnel will receive gross pay of $1,500, and teacher assistants will
receive $500 bonuses. Incentive funds will be made available to local school systems on
Aug. 6 for distribution to appropriate personnel.
The ABCs model is designed to help low-performing schools improve. Low-performing schools
are those schools with less than 50 percent of their students performing at Achievement
Level III and who do not achieve expected growth/gain. This year, 13 schools were
identified as low performing.
A select group of low-performing schools are chosen each year to receive mandatory
assistance based on the percentage of their students at or above Achievement Level III and
on their lack of achieving growth/gain. Last year, assistance teams of 3-5 educators each
worked in 11 schools helping staff align the instructional program of the school with the
Standard Course of Study, modeling and demonstrating effective instructional practices,
coaching and mentoring teachers, evaluating staff, and locating additional resources for
the schools. Of those 11 schools assigned State Assistance Teams, nine met or exceeded
their growth/gain goals under the 1998-99 ABCs model.
The ABCs of Public Education, a reform effort begun in 1995, emphasizes accountability at
the school level; instruction in the basics of reading, writing and mathematics and core
courses at the high school level; and control at the local level. The ABCs accountability
model began in 1996-97 for schools teaching grades K-8. The model uses end-of-grade tests,
already in place for several years at grades 3-8, and the state writing test at grades 4
and 7 to measure student academic growth from year-to-year. Last year, results from
end-of-course tests given to middle school students were added to the model.
High schools were included in the 1997-98 school year with end-of-course tests focusing on
five core courses required of all high school graduates: Algebra I; English I; Biology;
Economic, Legal and Political Systems; and U.S History. Student growth/gain is measured
through end-of-course test results, results from the English II writing test, the NC
Comprehensive Test of Reading and Mathematics (where the same students are compared from
the end of eighth grade to the end of tenth grade), a current year-to-baseline comparison
of the percentage of students who graduate completing College Prep or College Tech Prep
courses of study, and the change in passing rates on the high school competency tests from
the end of eighth grade to the end of tenth grade.
The ABCs accountability model is designed to measure achievement and performance with the
goal of improving the overall level of student achievement in North Carolina. While the
accountability model targets achievement in basic or core subjects, the entire North
Carolina Standard Course of Study covers a broader range of subjects which all students
For complete, school-by-school results, visit the ABCs web site at http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/ABC_results/results_99/
For additional information, contact the DPI's Communications Office at 919/715-1246, or
the Division of Accountability Services at 919/715-1348.