Rutherford County Schools ABCs/AYP Press Release

RCS Receives ABCs Of Public Education Accountability Report
Posted on 08/12/2011
School HouseRutherford County Schools ABCs/AYP Press Release
August 4, 2011

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has released the 2010-11 ABCs of Public Education accountability report.  The report is based on several measures of performance including proficiency on end-of-grade and end-or-course tests, writing for grade 10, graduation rate, and student growth.  Also included is information about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the federal measure of school progress required under No Child Left Behind.

Schools receive designations based on their overall proficiency and growth for the year.  Schools making growth with between 80-89% proficiency receive recognition as a School of Distinction.  Rutherford County Schools had four schools who received this designation: Ellenboro Elementary, Forest Hunt Elementary, Harris Elementary, and Sunshine Elementary.  Schools making growth with 60 to 79% proficiency are Schools of Progress.  Spindale Elementary and Chase Middle School received this designation.

Rutherford County Schools had an overall Performance Composite of 74.9%, an increase from 74.1% for the previous school year.  This number represents the pass rate for all state tests given last year - EOGs, EOCs, Writing.  However, only 7 of their 18 schools (38.9%) made AYP for the 2010-2011 school year.  This is down from 66.7% for 2009-2010. Dr. Tanya Watson, Director of Research and Accountability for Rutherford County Schools, explained that this decrease is due in part to the sharp increase in the proficiency goals which will eventually reach 100% by the 2013-2014 school year.  “The proficiency target for elementary and middle school reading increased from 43.2% last year to 71.6% this year and from 38.5% to 69.3% for grade 10 reading.  Similar increases were established for math; grades 3-8 jumped from 77.2% to 88.6% and grade 10 increased from 68.4% to 84.2%”, reported Watson.  “Similar decreases were seen across the state with only 21.5% of North Carolina public schools making AYP this year.  However, the district had a total of 272 target goals and 229 (84.2%) were met.”

Despite the increase in proficiency targets and higher requirements for making AYP, only Forest City-Dunbar qualifies for School Improvement status for the 2011-2012 school year.  “When a school fails to make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject, that school goes into School Improvement and must offer the School Choice Option”, explained Watson.  “This status overshadows that fact that more students at Forest City-Dunbar were at grade level this year with overall proficiency increasing from 62.5 to 66.1%.”  The seven schools that made AYP include Ellenboro Elementary, Forrest Hunt Elementary, Harris Elementary, Pinnacle Elementary, Spindale Elementary, Rutherford Opportunity Center, and REaCH.

Dr. Mason emphasized that the district saw an increase in both EOG and EOC proficiency this year. “Our schools are showing improvement and that should not be overshadowed by the 'all-or-nothing' nature of NCLB.”

AYP tracks performance by student groups including All Students, White, Black, Hispanic, Two or More Races, Native American, Asian, Economically Disadvantaged, Students with Disabilities, and Limited English Proficient.  “No Child Left Behind is designed so that schools that miss their AYP target with only one group of students are considered to have missed the AYP target overall,” said state superintendent June Atkinson.  “This 'all or nothing' structure of the federal law guarantees that we will see an increasing number of schools missing the elusive Met AYP designation.  I continue to believe that this method of labeling schools is unfair and unrealistic because there is no recognition for schools that are making significant progress and performing well with nearly all of their students.”

Efforts are currently underway to reauthorize No Child Left Behind.  In fact, President Obama has urged Congress to act before the end of August.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan has stated that his department will waive the law‟s current requirements for states unless Congress completes its overhaul of the federal law by September.
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