NEWS RELEASES 2012-13 :: AUGUST 2, 2012


According to the 2011-12 ABCs of Public Education report today presented to State Board of Education members, nearly 80 percent (79.5 percent) of North Carolina public schools met or exceeded their academic growth goals. This is the final year of the ABCs of Public Education accountability program before the state transitions to the READY school accountability model in the 2012-13 school year.

The report also found that 46.2 percent (1,165 schools) of all schools met all of their Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs). AMOs have replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures previously required by the U.S. Department of Education. Under AMOs, proficiency targets are set for each student subgroup. Before AMOs were allowed, there was only one proficiency target for all student subgroups (proficiency subgroup targets are available online at

"The ABCs model has served North Carolina well by focusing on school-level accountability, and back in the mid-1990s when the ABCs model began this model was considered groundbreaking," State Superintendent June Atkinson said. "Our new READY accountability model, which will replace the ABCs beginning this school year, will stay focused on individual schools but will more squarely measure career and college readiness."

"The ABCs has provided us with the insight needed to guide school improvement efforts," State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said. "The state's new accountability model will incorporate new measures to gauge student success to make sure our schools continue to meet the needs of all our students."

The ABCs report showed that 43.9 percent of schools met high academic growth standards and 35.6 percent of schools met expected growth. The 2012 numbers are slightly down from 2011 when 41.7 percent of schools met high academic growth and 39.7 percent of schools met expected growth. Growth projections of expected student performance based on previous test scores are reset each year by the state.

The number and percent of traditional schools and charter schools receiving recognition under the ABCs also were released and are noted in the following chart. For a description of how schools achieve the various designations, please visit and click on ABCs Background Packet.

  Total Schools* Percent Total Schools* Percent
Honor Schools of Excellence 278 11.2 212 8.5
Schools of Excellence 16 0.6 41 1.6
Schools of Distinction 704 28.4 698 28.0
Schools of Progress 849 34.2 884 35.4
No Recognition Schools 409 16.5 375 15.0
Priority Schools 160 6.4 217 8.7
Low-Performing Schools 15 0.6 14 0.6
Alternative 88 3.5 89 3.6
Total (Regular & Alternative Schools) 2,482   2,497  
* School row totals do not sum to actual totals because alternative schools that do not make expected growth also appear in the No Recognition Category.

The ABCs report is based on several measures of performance. These include reading and mathematics end-of-grade tests in grades three through eight; science tests in grades five and eight; and end-of-course tests in English I, Algebra I and Biology. Other measures include the cohort graduation rate and student performance on alternate assessments for certain students with disabilities.

This is the 16th and final year of the ABCs program. For the fourth consecutive year, the state's budget did not include funding for the ABCs incentive awards for qualifying educators whose schools met or exceeded its growth goals. These awards were an integral part of the program until 2009.

A total of 2,482 public schools and public charter schools were assigned a status in the ABCs of Public Education. Complete results for all of these schools are available online at . A background packet providing an overview of the ABCs accountability program and changes to the program in 2011-12 also is available at this location.

Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, North Carolina public schools will operate under the new READY accountability model with first-year results reported in fall 2013. Also beginning with the 2012-13 school year, all public school teachers will be using the state's new Standard Course of Study, which includes Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics. The state's assessment program will include formative assessments along with end-of-grade and end-of-course assessments. Teachers will use the formative assessments to ensure students are grasping the concepts being taught in the classroom. These assessments, which are not graded or part of the state's accountability program, are more of a pulse check on student proficiency. For more information on the READY initiative, please visit


About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.