Friday, August 5, 2011

CMS shows some academic decline but tops state average

State ABC calculations made public Aug. 4 showed that academic growth
declined from a year ago in CMS, but still outperformed the state
average. CMS had 85.4 percent of schools making expected or high
growth, compared to 94.1 a year ago; the state average dropped to 81.4
percent from 88 percent a year ago.

Overall, the district had 82 schools making high growth, down from 108
a year ago. The number of schools making expected growth increased
from 51 to 64 and the number of schools with growth less than expected
was 25, up from 10 a year ago.

The greatest improvement occurred in middle schools in CMS, where more
schools made high growth and more schools made expected growth. Only
two middle schools did not make expected growth in the 2010-2011 year,
up from zero a year earlier.

In elementary schools, 41 schools made expected growth, up from 36 a
year ago. Schools making high growth declined to 46 from 58, and the
number of schools making less than expected growth rose to 16 from
nine a year earlier.

Interim Superintendent Hugh E. Hattabaugh characterized the results as
mixed, and said the district will work to improve them in coming
school year.

"We don't want to move backwards in any area. We've made great
progress since 2006 and we will work in the coming year to get the
district and its students moving ahead again," he said during a media
briefing about the results. "We think our pre-k-8 schools, as well as
our initiatives such as Strategic Staffing, will help us make more
progress in 2011-2012."

Hattabaugh and other district officials noted that three years of
large budget cuts have reduced the number of teachers and teacher
assistants, which affects classrooms. But Hattabaugh also noted that
the 2011-2012 budget, although still requiring cuts, did not have to
make cuts as large as in previous years. Consequently, CMS will be
able to restore some of the teaching and teaching-assistant ranks in
the 2011-2012 year.

North Carolina defines schools making high growth as those where, on
average, students make a year's growth in a year's time and the ratio
of students making at least a year's growth to those who did not is at
least 1.5 to 1.

Schools making expected growth are defined as schools where, on
average, students make a year's growth in a year's time.

Growth for each school is calculated using the end-of-year state tests
in math and reading, and five End-of-Course tests in high school:
English I, Algebra I, Biology, U.S. History, Civics and Economics. It
also factors in the dropout rate in high schools.

The number of schools making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the
federal standard required by No Child Left Behind, in CMS was 49. The
AYP standard looks at the performance of subgroups as well as the
school as a whole. The subgroups separate students by race, ethnicity
and family-income level.

To make AYP, a school must meet all of its targets. Some CMS schools
have fewer than 10 targets; others have more than 35. Eleven CMS
schools made 90 percent or more of their targets.