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UCPS top of its class in graduation/performance rate

These Forest Hills High School seniors stand ready to receive their diplomas during their graduation ceremony on June 11, 2012. They are just a few of this year's 2,715 UCPS graduates.

Union County Public Schools continues to have the highest graduation rate of any North Carolina school systems its size and continues to rank at the top in its growth and performance rate.

The 2012 UCPS graduation rate of its 2,715 seniors was 89.5 percent, increasing from last year’s rate of 89.1 percent. This compares favorably to the state’s graduation rate of 80.2 percent, which increased from the 2011 state rate of 77.7 percent.

The system’s test scores are also above state average. According to the 2011-12 ABCs of Public Education report released by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) today (Aug. 2, 2012), 88.2 percent of UCPS schools met or exceeded their academic growth goals, with 60.8 percent meeting high academic growth.

This exceeds the state average of 79.5 percent of the state’s 2,482 public schools and public charter schools that met or exceeded their academic growth goals.

“We are very pleased that our scores continue to improve,” said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis. “That is a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers and our partnership with parents.”

UCPS boasts of 20 honor schools of excellence (39 percent of UCPS schools). To give perspective to this number, statewide there are only 278 schools or 11.2 percent of the state’s 2,482 public schools and public charter schools to rate this designation. There are also 17 UCPS schools of distinction (33.3 percent of UCPS schools). Statewide, 28 percent (717 schools) rated this status.

This is the final year of the ABCs of Public Education accountability program before the state transitions to the READY school accountability model in the 2012-13 school year.

Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) have replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures previously required by the U.S. Department of Education. Under AMOs, proficiency targets are set for each student subgroup. Before AMOs were allowed, there was only one proficiency target for all student subgroups.

UCPS Accountability Officer Carolyn White said the ABC model focused on school-level accountability, while the new accountability model will incorporate new measures to gauge student success and aim to more accurately measure career and college readiness.

DPI’s report also states UCPS met 79 of the 80 AMO targets (98.8 percent). Thirty-six of the system’s 52 schools (69.2 percent) met all of their AMOs. Statewide, 46.2 percent (1,165 schools) met all of their AMOs.

The ABCs report is based on several measures of performance. These include reading and mathematics end-of-grade tests in grades three through eight; science tests in grades five and eight; and end-of-course tests in English I, Algebra I and Biology. Other measures include the cohort graduation rate and student performance on alternate assessments for certain students with disabilities.

Also beginning with the 2012-13 school year, all public school teachers will be using the state’s new Standard Course of Study, which includes Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics.

The state’s assessment program will include formative assessments along with end-of-grade and end-of-course assessments. Teachers will use the formative assessments to ensure students are grasping the concepts being taught in the classroom. These assessments, which are not graded or part of the state’s accountability program, are more of a pulse check on student proficiency.



Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Aug 02, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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