ABCs of Public Education
The percentage of North Carolina public schools meeting and or exceeding their academic growth goals decreased in 2011-12 from 81.4 percent to 79.5 percent. This is the final year of the ABCs of Public Education accountability program as the state transitions to the READY school accountability model in 2012-13.
The percentage of schools earning High Growth increased from 41.7 percent to 43.9 percent while the percentage of schools earning Expected Growth decreased from 39.7 percent to 35.6 percent. In addition, 46.2 percent (1,165 schools) of all schools met all of their Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). AMO have replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures previously required by the U.S. Department of Education. Under AMO, proficiency targets are set for each student subgroup. Under AYP, there was only one proficiency target for all student subgroups.
In grades 3-8, 67.5 percent of students in grades 3-8 were considered at or above the proficient level in reading and mathematics and 81.4 percent of students were at or above the proficient level on three high school mandated end-of-course tests (English I, Algebra I, Biology).
Over 40 percent of all public schools were either designated Honor Schools of Excellence (11.2 percent) Schools of Excellence (.6 percent) or Schools of Distinction (28.4 percent) – the three highest recognition categories for schools under the ABCs.
In 2012, North Carolina’s four-year cohort graduation rate exceeded 80 percent for the first time ever with 80.4 percent of students who started ninth grade in 2008-09 completing high school in four years or less. This is up from the 2011 rate of 77.9 percent.
Some students require a fifth year of high school in order to complete graduation requirements. The five-year cohort graduation rate for students who entered ninth grade in 2007-08 (Class of 2011) also increased to 81.1 percent, up from the five-year rate for the 2006-07 ninth graders (Class of 2010) of 77.7 percent.
North Carolina’s four-year cohort graduation rate has increased 12.1 percentage points since the state began calculating the graduation rate in this format for the freshman class of 2002-03. The five-year cohort graduation rate has increased 10.8 percentage points.
Following is a breakdown of four-year cohort graduation rates by race. Five-year cohort graduation rates are noted in parenthesis: All Students 80.4 (81.1), American Indian 73.7 (72.1); Asian 87.5 (90.3); Black 74.7 (76.4); Hispanic 73.0 (74.1); Multi-Racial 80.6 (80.4); White 84.7 (84.7).
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
North Carolina fourth and eighth graders outperformed the nation in mathematics and was at or just below the national average in reading in 2011, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2011 Mathematics and Reading results. The average mathematics score among the state's fourth graders was 245 versus 240 for the nation. Eighth grade students in North Carolina also outperformed their national counterparts. The average score among the state's eighth graders was 286, while the national average score was 283.
The state’s fourth graders are reading on par with their national peers while the state's eighth graders are reading slightly below the national average for students at that grade level. North Carolina's average scale score was 221 in fourth grade, compared to the national average of 220. The eighth grade average scale scores for reading were 263 for North Carolina and 264 for the nation.
North Carolina fourth and eighth graders scored in line with the national average on vocabulary questions administered as a part of the 2009 and 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessments. The NAEP’s first ever vocabulary results report, “ Vocabulary Results from the 2009 and 2011 NAEP Reading Assessments ,” included an average vocabulary score among students in grades four and eight from 52 states and jurisdictions. In 2009, the average score in NAEP vocabulary for public school fourth graders was 217, while North Carolina fourth graders had an average score of 220. In 2011, both the national and North Carolina average scores among fourth graders were 217. At the eighth grade level, the national average score in 2009 and 2011 was 263. In North Carolina, the average score among the state’s eighth graders was 262 in 2009 and 265 in 2011.
North Carolina 8th graders' writing scores were on par with the national average, and 87 percent of the students performed at the Basic level or better on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress.
North Carolina eighth graders improved their average score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2011 Science Assessment, but continued to perform at a level lower than the national average. Results were available this year only for eighth grade students. North Carolina's students had an average score of 148 as compared to the national average score of 151. The state's students improved their science score by 4 points since the 2009 administration when the state's average score was 144.
Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)
North Carolina was the only participating state in the country and one of only eight education systems (others were Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Northern Ireland and Flemish Belgium) across the world in which fourth grade math students outscored the test average and U.S. national average according to the "Highlights from TIMSS 2011: Mathematics and Science Achievement of U.S. Fourth- and Eighth-Grade Students in an International Context," released by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The report also found:
- In eighth grade mathematics, North Carolina was one of four U.S. states and among the 11 total education systems with average scores above the U.S. average. The other 10 systems were Korea, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Japan, the Russian Federation, Quebec and Indiana.
- In fourth grade science, both Florida and North Carolina scored above the TIMSS scale average but were not measurably different from the U.S. national average. The only six education systems with average science scores above the U.S. score were Korea, Singapore, Finland, Japan, the Russian Federation and Chinese Taipei.
- In eighth grade science, Indiana, North Carolina, Connecticut and Florida scored above the TIMSS scale average but scores were not measurably different from the U.S. national average. Colorado, Massachusetts and Minnesota were among the 12 education systems with average science scores above the United States average. The others were Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Finland, Alberta, Slovenia, the Russian Federation and Hong Kong.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study is an international comparative study of student achievement. The 2011 assessment represents the fifth such study since TIMSS was first conducted in 1995. North Carolina has not participated, as a state, in the assessment since 1999.
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
North Carolina's average combined Critical Reading and Math SAT scores decreased four points to 997 in 2011. The national average combined Critical Reading and Math score also declined in 2012 by one point to 1,010. The state’s Critical Reading and Math scores each decreased by two points to 491 and 506 respectively. The average Writing score in 2012 was 472 – also a drop of two points from the previous year. For the nation, Critical Reading decreased one point to 496; Math remained the same at 514; and Writing dropped one point to 488. The 68 percent of seniors taking the SAT in 2012 represented the largest group of graduating seniors in North Carolina's history to take the college entrance exam. North Carolina has long been considered an SAT state in that the vast majority of students voluntarily take this college entrance exam when considering post-secondary education although the state began administering the ACT college admissions test to all high school juniors in 2012.
On Advanced Placement tests, North Carolina students continued to increase their participation rate, the number of tests they took and the number of tests they passed. The number of exam takers was up by 7.8 percent with a total of 53,836 students taking 100,945 examinations (a 7.3 percent increase). The number of AP exams (61,364) that received passing scores (generally considered scores of 3, 4 or 5) also increased by 7.2 percent to 60.8 percent. In the past five years, AP exam participation has increased by 17.8 percent and the number of students scoring an exam score of 3, 4 or 5 has increased 21.7 percent.
North Carolina students continued to out perform the nation on the ACT for the fifth year in a row. North Carolina's average composite score remained steady in 2012 at 21.9 points. The national average composite score was 21.1 points. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36 with 36 being the highest possible score.
North Carolina's public schools are more of a melting pot than ever with over 235 languages spoken! The state's Hispanic student population continues to grow faster than any other group. In the past 10 years, (1999-2000 – 2009-10), the percentage of Hispanic students has risen from 3.7 percent, or 46,164, to 11.1 percent, or 157,027 students.
The 2010-11 Consolidated Data Report found that the percentage of North Carolina public school students dropping out of school decreased to its lowest percentage ever – 3.43 percent from 3.75 percent in 2009-10. In addition, 70 percent of all school districts demonstrated a decrease in dropout rates. A total of 15,342 high school students dropped out in 2010-11 as compared to 16,804 students in 2009-10 (an 8.7 percent decrease).
The percentage of students who entered as ninth graders in 2007-08 and graduated with their class four years later (Class of 2011) or sooner was 77.7 percent. This was a 3.5 percentage point increase from 2006-07 when 74.2 percent of entering freshmen graduated four years later or sooner. Some students require a fifth year of high school in order to complete graduation requirements. The five-year cohort graduation rate for students who entered ninth grade in 2005-06 (class of 2010) also was 77.7 percent, up from the five-year rate for the 2004-05 ninth graders (Class of 2009) of 74.7 percent.
Upon graduation in 2011, almost 86 percent of the state's public school graduates stated that they planned to further their education either through a four-year college/university, community college, junior college or trade/business school.