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New State Standards


Data released Thursday, Nov. 7, by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction show that in 2012-13, a clear majority of Durham Public Schools students met or exceeded growth – the academic progress made by a student over a period of time. Seventy-seven percent of schools met or exceeded growth projections, beating the state average (71 percent) by six percentage points. Growth is significant because it indicates that a student is making gains toward individual academic goals.


Additionally, the data established a baseline for measuring student proficiency based on the new state standards including the Common Core, which significantly raised the bar for academic achievement and required new curricula in all grades K-12. The first year of assessments under the new standards showed that, as a district, Durham Public Schools scored 34 percent proficiency.


In reviewing Durham’s data, please keep in mind:

  • The new state standards are more rigorous and the assessments are harder. It takes time for teachers and students to adjust.
  • This is a baseline year. Because the standards have completely changed, we will be charting our progress going forward, not looking back.
  • We aren’t talking apples to apples. The scores released today for the 2012-13 school year look dramatically different that the previous year because the curriculum, standards and tests were dramatically different. You really can’t compare one to the other.
  • The fact that the majority of DPS students met or exceeded growth is significant because it indicates that those students are making gains toward their individual academic goals. Growth is a key measurable objective used in evaluating a school’s performance.


As DPS moves forward and begins to put this new data to use, three things in particular will be done:

  • Identify gaps in teaching and learning;
  • Examine current practices;
  • Continuing to focus on each individual student’s personal academic growth; and
  • Respond to the data by making necessary shifts and adjustments to best support students, teachers and schools.


In the long run this will be a good thing for Durham Public Schools. The new standards raise the bar and challenge our students to learn more and be better prepared for college and a career. DPS fully expects proficiency scores to rise over the next few years.


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