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State Test Results Released for Watauga County Schools

Nov. 7, 2013. The results of last year’s End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests in North Carolina public schools were released today by the State Board of Education.  

The tests measure student achievement and school performance in two broad categories, proficiency and growth. Proficiency is measured by the percentage of students that are on track for career and college readiness. Growth measures students’ increase in knowledge and skills during the school year relative to the average increase for students in the same grades and subjects statewide. 

The 2012-13 results show that growth targets were met at seven of nine schools in the Watauga County Schools (WCS), including four schools at which growth exceeded expectations.

The schools not meeting growth targets were Watauga High School and Green Valley. The schools exceeding growth expectations are Blowing Rock, Cove Creek, Hardin Park, and Parkway.  Statewide, 28.6 percent of schools exceeded expected growth compared to 44 percent of schools in the WCS system. 

For elementary and middle schools, EOG tests are administered for reading and mathematics in grades 3-8, and for science in grades 5 and 8.  EOC tests are administered in English II, Biology, and Algebra I/Integrated Math I.  Large declines in the percentage of students achieving proficiency on these tests were expected because of the new and more rigorous curriculum and the more demanding test standards implemented for the first time in 2012-13. State and local educators caution that the results for 2012-13 cannot be compared to prior years due to these changes.

In WCS, 55.9 percent of students in grades 3-8 tested as proficient in reading and 52.9 percent demonstrated proficiency in mathematics. In science, 55.5 percent of WCS 5th graders and 72.2 percent of 8th graders tested as proficient in science, compared to 45.4 percent of fifth graders and 59.1 percent of eight graders statewide.

The proportion of tested students achieving proficiency on the EOC test for English II was 60.0 percent in WCS and 51.1 percent statewide. In Algebra I/Integrated Math I, proficiency rates were 54 percent in WCS and 42.6 percent statewide.  For Biology, 53.5 percent of WCS test results demonstrated proficiency versus 45.5 percent statewide. 

The ACT test administered to all 11th graders is another important measure of student proficiency. On this broader measure of student achievement, 76.4 percent of Watauga High School students met state standards compared to 58.5 percent statewide.  Watauga students posted the second best SAT scores and the third best ACT scores out of 115 school districts in North Carolina.  

“The state test results for our schools are lower than we are used to, but this change reflects more demanding standards and not lower achievement by our students,” said Superintendent Dr. David Fonseca.  “As one indication of that, our student’s scores increased on national tests that did not change last year, such as the ACT and SAT.  It’s also good to see that our students’ test results were better than those of other school districts.”  

Fonseca added that lower state test results were expected for 2012-13 based on previous experience with changes in state standards.  “We’ve experienced declines in test scores each time after previous revisions to the state curriculum and test content. Results have always improved following the initial decline in test scores and there is every reason to believe we will repeat that improvement this time around.”  

Local schools will send home individual student results by the end of November.  Letters about the state tests are being sent home with students this week and a second letter will be sent home with individual test results when those become available later this month.

Student scores on last year’s tests will not affect their grades for last year or their current placement in school.

School status designations such as School of Excellence and School of Distinction are no longer part of the state’s school accountability system.   However, under legislation adopted by the NC General Assembly this year, each school will be assigned a letter grade on an A-F scale beginning in the fall of 2014 using results for the 2013-14 school year.       

All 2012-13 test data (school, district, and state) is available online from the NC Department of Public Instruction at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/