Local schools receive growth, accountability data

Mebane's Hawfields Middle School once again reached "Exceeded" expectations with its School Performance Grade (SPG), earning the highest score among all schools in town. After placing first statewide among middle schools and second among all public schools in North Carolina in growth in 2018, Hawfields Middle ranks fourth statewide in growth in 2019. Many other Mebane-area schools reported strong numbers from the recent accountability data, including South Mebane Elementary School and E.M. Yoder Elementary. 

On September 4, The North Carolina Board of Education approved results from the 2018-19 school year for all traditional and public charter schools based on the North Carolina’s Accountability Model in compliance with state and federal reporting requirements. 

The Accountability Model provides results for student performance on End-of- Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests along with English Learner Progress ad on three additional measures at the high school level: combined ACT test results and WorkKeys test results; Graduation Rate; and Math Course Rigor.

The Alamance-Burlington School System achieved a combined grade level proficient score (Levels 3, 4 & 5) of 51.4 percent for all EOG and EOC test results for students in grades 3 through 12, up from 50.7 percent in the prior year. The career and college ready score (Levels 4 & 5) was attained on a cumulative 37.8 percent of EOG and EOC tests administered across the district. 

In 2018-19, 47.0 percent of all ABSS juniors scored at or above the University of North Carolina system entry requirement composite ACT score of 17. Among Career & Technical Education concentrators who take the ACT WorkKeys exam, 59.9 percent of ABSS students scored a silver, gold, or platinum level ACT National Career Readiness Certificate that signifies proficiency at essential skills needed for success in industry.

The 4-year cohort graduation rate for ABSS students in 2017-18 is 82.5 percent, the highest rate in district history. Eighty-eight (88) percent of all ABSS graduates completed high school with, at minimum, a third level math course. 

For the second year, the accountability model includes a measurement called English Learner Progress. This indicates the number of students in grades 3-8 and 10 who make progress on the ACCESS test - a test that measures English language proficiency for English language learners. The English Learners Progress rate in 2018-2019 was 43.6 percent.

Seventy-six (76) percent, or 26 of the district’s 34 schools with a growth status, met or exceeded academic growth goals. In 2017-2018, sixty-two (62) percent or 21 of 24 schools met or exceeded academic growth goals. Ray Street Academy and the Alamance-Burlington Career and Technical Education Center do not report a traditional growth status. 

In 2019, six (6) schools exceeded expected growth and nearly 62 percent of ABSS schools were designated with a school performance grade of A, B or C. 

School Performance Grades (SPGs) are based upon the Grade Level Proficient standard (students earning Level 3, 4 or 5). The SPGs are derived from two components: School Achievement (80 percent) and School Growth (20 percent), and are assigned on a 15-point scale. 

“While the aggregate data may show slight variations from the previous year, there are numerous school-level accomplishments to celebrate”, remarked ABSS Superintendent Bruce Benson. 

Among local schools, Benson noted that Mebane’s E.M. Yoder Elementary posted impressive gains, moving from 74.5 percent to 92.9 percent proficient on the fifth grade science End of Grade examination. After receiving an School Performance Grade of 67 in 2018, E.M. Yoder Elementary jumped up to a SPG score of 70 in 2019, which is considered “Met” expectations. 

Hawfields Middle School once again exceeded expectations, producing a School Performance Grade of 76. Coming off a year in which Hawfields was second in the state of North Carolina in growth among public middle schools, this year Hawfields ranks fourth statewide. 

Also reaching “Exceeded” with its School Performance Grade was South Mebane Elementary School, which received a score of 75. Like Hawfields Middle, South Mebane has “Exceeded” expectations in 2017 (SPG score 71) and in 2018 (SPG score 74). 

After exceeding expectations with a SPG of 72 back in 2017, Woodlawn Middle School recorded a score of 70 in 2018 and 68 in 2019, which is considered “Met” expectations. 

Another local school that received School Performance Grades that “Met” expectations was Garrett Elementary School (SPG score 60). Garrett’s SPG score has been steadily improving in recent years, going from a 57 to 2017 to a 59 in 2018, and up to a grade of 60 in 2019. Additionally, Garrett Elementary is one of 7 ABSS schools ranked in the top 90 across the state for growth of English learners.

One of the disappointments was the SPG at Eastern Alamance High School, which came out at 67, which is considered “Not Met.” This is down from a SPG of 71 in 2018, which was considered “Met,” and a SPG of 74 in 2017, which was considered “Exceeded.” 

Eastern joined Western Alamance High as the only two ABSS high schools to receive rankings of “Not Met,” as Southern Alamance, Cummings, and Graham all received scores of “Met” School Performance Grade expectations, and Williams received a SPG of “Exceeded.” 

Pleasant Grove Elementary School’s School Performance Grade has also been recently going down, falling from a score of 59 (“Met” expectations) in 2017 to 55 (“Not Met”) in 2018, and 54 in 2019, once again in the category of “Not Met.” 

Among local elementary schools, E.M. Yoder and South Mebane Elementary received scores of B, while Garrett received a C grade, and Pleasant Grove Elementary a D. Hawfields Middle received a B grade for the third straight year, while Woodlawn Middle fell to a C grade after reaching B grades in 2017 and 2018. Eastern Alamance High School also received a C grade. 

Reflecting on the published results, Superintendent Benson remarked, “Behind the scenes our educators use these once-a-year results to identify teaching and coaching strategies that are needed to accelerate each child’s progress when gaps in student learning are evident. As a district team, our objective is to study the data points to identify strategies that will help reduce variance across schools. Numbers tell only part of the story of what is happening in our classrooms and schools each day, but they serve as an important benchmark for our continuous improvement model.”