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Students in Henderson County public schools scored the 12th highest overall performance on the new state assessments out of the 115 school districts across the state.
Even though test scores dropped as expected in the first year of more rigorous standards, more than 71 percent of North Carolina public schools met or exceeded academic growth expectations in the 2012-13 school year, according to the first READY Accountability report presented today to the State Board of Education.
In Henderson County, 78 percent of schools met or exceeded academic growth expectations.
Along with the 12th highest performance composite in the state, the Henderson County schools also had the 4th highest performance in Grade 8 Science, the 8th highest performance in Grade 4 Math, the 9th highest performance in Grade 4 Reading, and the 10 highest performances in 5th Grade Math and 5th Grade Reading.
Statewide, 28.6 percent of schools exceeded expected growth, while nearly twice as many — 52 percent — of Henderson County schools exceeded the expected growth standard.
"We applaud the hard work of our students, teachers, and administrators," Henderson County schools Superintendent David L. Jones said. "We recognize that our success is due to our people and the wonderful support we receive from our parents and community."
Henderson County's overall student proficiency rate of 53.5 percent on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests also topped the state average of 44.7 percent. Results from the state's new assessments align more closely with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results, generally considered to be the Nation's Report Card of record for public schools. NAEP's 2013 results also were released today and are available online at ncpublicschools.org under News.
"Students today are expected to solve problems and to use knowledge in new ways," said state schools Superintendent June Atkinson. "We have raised standards for students because we want them to be ready for anything they choose to do after high school. That means doing more to prepare them for the competitive challenges of college and careers."
State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey noted that the Board expected today's results. "It is not a surprise that our marks are lower this year," he said. "When parents see this information in their students' score reports, I encourage them to recognize that their child has not lost ground, but that he or she is being measured against a much more difficult standard."
North Carolina's new model continues a long-standing practice of reporting both academic growth rates and the percentage of students who scored proficient on state assessments. Growth reflects the progress students made during the course of the school year. It is quite possible for a student or a school to have a strong pattern of academic growth and to also have many students who may not have scored proficient or above on state tests. Some students begin school or a particular school year behind their peers and will need to achieve very significant academic growth in order to meet proficiency standards by the end of the grade or course. Also, standards are much higher now than in the past, which makes it more difficult for some students to reach proficiency levels.