CMS shows gains in all subject areas, graduation rate

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools showed improvement in 23 areas tested and the district’s graduation rate rose by almost four percentage points in the 2009-2010 school year, according to preliminary state data released July 19. The district had 97 schools making Adequate Yearly Progress, as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which is 57.7 percent of all schools.

The results continued a positive upward trend in CMS since 2006 in nearly all tested areas. Comparisons to other districts for the 209-2010 year, as well as data for academic growth at individual schools, will not be available until the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction releases statewide data in early August, district officials said.

“Overall, we are pleased but not satisfied,” said Dr. Peter C. Gorman, superintendent of CMS. “We want to see the pace of improvement accelerate even more. However, the preliminary results from the 2009-2010 year show that we are continuing to make substantial academic progress in CMS, and that’s good news.”

Gorman also noted that the gains had taken place against a backdrop of diminishing resources and staff. CMS cut $35.1 million from its 2008-2009 budget – the largest local-funding cut in the state – and the cuts eliminated 181 teacher-level positions. There were additional staff cuts in special areas.

Overall, CMS showed gains in math for grades three through eight, with a composite proficiency rate of 82, an increase of three points over the 2008-2009 school year. Reading proficiency also increased in grades three through eight, with a composite rate of 70 percent proficient, up three points over the 2008-2009 school year.

Science tests, given in grades five and eight, also showed an increase in student proficiency over last year: 69 percent of students demonstrated proficiency, up from 62 percent a year earlier. (All scores include retests, which the state now uses in its calculations.)

For eight End-of-Course tests, given in middle and high school, proficiency also increased. English I had a four-point increase in proficiency; Geometry had a four-point increase. The composite rate for the district was a three-point increase in proficiency, with the composite score rising to 79 percent proficiency (without retests) in 2009-2010.

On the North Carolina General Writing Assessment, given in grade 10, the proficiency rate rose one point to 76 percent proficient. Since the test’s inception in 2004-2005, CMS has increased its proficiency rate by 26 points. Statewide comparison data is available for the writing results, and the data shows the CMS rate is six points higher than the state rate.

Preliminary results also indicated that the graduation rate for CMS increased to 69.9 percent, from 66.1 percent a year earlier. On VoCATS tests, given to students who are enrolled in Career and Technical Education courses, the overall proficiency was 73.8, down from 79.9 a year earlier.

The preliminary data also showed a decline in the number of schools making Adequate Yearly Progress – a decline that CMS had anticipated. When the state began using retests in proficiency calculations last year, many schools saw their scores rise dramatically. This led to a sharp rise in the AYP calculation as well. Using retests, CMS had 68.1 percent of schools making AYP last year; without retests, the rate was 36.2 percent. The 2009-2010 rate, using retests, was 57.7 percent – 97 of 168 schools.
For details on the performance of subgroups and other data, please click here.

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