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DPS releases preliminary ABCs test results

Number of low-performing schools declines by 60%, 26 schools show significant gains in student performance

Durham Public Schools demonstrated a marked improvement in student performance according to preliminary testing data released earlier today. The preliminary scores are the result of the 2010-2011 North Carolina End-of-Grade and End-of-Course assessments.

Superintendent Eric Becoats reported that the district made significant strides in its efforts to become a top performing school district. The district’s graduation rate is now 74%, an increase of 4% from 2009-10. In addition, more middle students are demonstrating proficiency in Algebra, bringing the total rate to 92%. The number of “low performing schools” declined from 5 to 2, a 60% reduction. In the “Elementary South” area, 100% of schools met expected or high growth. In the “Elementary North,” area, 79% of the schools met expected or high growth.

Twenty six schools recorded an overall gain in their composite scores. Improvements can be attributed in part to recent initiatives implemented by the district such as job-embedded literacy coaching. In addition, the Assessment for Learning Framework and intensive support from the Design for Accelerated Progress model provided principals and teachers with the tools needed to foster academic progress.

“I am pleased to see that our overall district scores have moved in a positive direction,” said Superintendent Eric Becoats. “However, my expectations and my energies will continue to be focused on higher levels of proficiency. Our strategic plan is providing the foundation to increase academic achievement.”

Other highlights of the report include:

  • 88% of elementary and middle schools met either “expected growth” or “high growth”.
  • 3 schools were recognized as Schools of Distinction (Pearsontown Elementary, City of Medicine Academy and Durham School of the Arts).
  • 26 schools made positive gains on their preliminary proficiency composites – this includes 15 elementary, 5 middle and 6 high schools.
  • 9 schools exceeded a 5 point gain in proficiency – one of those (Spring Valley Elementary) exceeded a 10 point gain.
  • 8 schools moved up 1 tier while 1 school moved up 2 tiers according to the Design for Accelerated Progress model.
  • 5 schools produced a composite of 80% or higher: Pearsontown Elementary, Durham School of the Arts, JD Clement Early College, City of Medicine Academy and Middle College.
  • Our small high schools had tremendous graduation rates: City of Medicine Academy = 97%, JD Clement Early College = 95%, Hillside New Tech = 100%, Middle College = 96%, Southern School of Engineering = 90%.
  • Grades 3-8 showed modest gains in proficiency from the previous year. Reading proficiency went up .8% and math went up 1.8% while science dropped .1%. The overall composite for grades 3-8 went up .4%.
  • Grades 9-12 showed an overall composite gain of .2%. EOCs demonstrating gains include Algebra I, Civics & Economics and Physical Science. EOCs demonstrating decreases include Algebra II, Biology, English I and US History.

“While these scores indicate progress, we still have more work to do,” said Becoats.  “We need to focus more efforts on reading proficiency in grades 3 through 8.”

It is important to note that this is preliminary data. Also, the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports will be released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction on Thursday, July 21.