Economic hardship effects noted in performance grades report


First Posted: 2/6/2015

The release of North Carolina’s General Assembly mandated School Performance Grades report Thursday added more weight to the belief poverty hobbles students who enter the footrace of their academic careers.

According to the figures released by the North Carolina Department of Education, just 13 percent all schools receiving an A have more than 50 percent of their students living in poverty. And while no school with a greater than 50-percent poverty level among its student body received an F, 97.9 percent of all schools recording a D had student-body poverty rate of greater than 50 percent.

Looking at schools that earned a B, just 23.1 percent of those institutions have a poverty rate of greater than 50 percent, while 72 percent of schools earning a C were made up of schoolw with more than 50 percent of its students living in poverty.

Eighty percent of the grades are based on student achievement with growth making up the remaining 20 percent.

Reading grades by poverty percentages showed 95.6 percent of schools earning an A has a student body make-up of less than 50 percent living in poverty while 73.6 percent of schools earning a C have a higher than 50-percent poverty rate. The elementary and middle school performance grades were based on test scores while additional indicators measuring college and career readiness were used to calculate the high school scores.

In mathematics grades by poverty percent, 12.7 percent of schools earning an A had a student poverty rate of greater than 50 percent.

The effort aimed at making judgment of a school’s performance easier for parents with a grading scale set 85-100 as an A; 70-84 as a B; 55-69 as a C; 40-55 as a D and 39 or less and a F. Of the 2,565 public schools and public charter schools all but 141 were graded. The majority of schools in the state received a C or better.

Local schools fell into that category with Millennium Charter Academy earning a B with a Student Performance Grade (SPG) of 72. Mount Airy High School also received a B with an SPG of 79. A performance grade score cannot be assigned B.H. Tharrington Primary School because students are from grades which do not take End Of Course (EOC) tests. Mount Airy Middle Schools scored a SPG of 63 for a C with Jones Intermediate given a C for a score of 69.

Surry County Schools were also represented in the performance grades report The Surry Early College High School of Design topped the list with an A and an SPG score of 87. East Surry scored 74 for a B. Surry Central and scored 63 for a C and North Surry had a 63 for a C as well.

Cedar Ridge Elementary had a C with a SPG score of 67; Central Middle School had a 59 for a C; Copeland Elementary had a C with an SPG of 63; Dobson Elementary scored a 68 for a C; Flat Rock Elementary was given a 67 for a C; Franklin Elementary had a B with a score of 73 and Gentry Middle had a C for a score of 63.

Meadowview Magnet Middle School had a D with a score of 49; Mountain Park was given a C for a score of 58; Pilot Mountain Elementary had 63 for a C; Pilot Mountain Middle had an SPG of 62 for a C; Rockford had 61 for a C; Shoals Elementary had a B with a score of 81; Westfield Elementary scored 71 for a B and White Plains had a C with a score of 69.

County school officials said an informational campaign is being planned to inform parents about the performance grading reports with principals already being briefed to answer parent questions. County and city officials have stressed proficiency and growth are not equally weighted in the grade and the school grade is not an indication of the school’s overall true performance level.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-415-4739 or on Twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.

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