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UCPS graduation rate of 93 percent breaks all-time record

Union County Early College graduates gather for a quick photo prior to graduation. The school had a graduation rate at 100 percent.

The state of North Carolina and Union County Public Schools released several accountability measures for the 2014-15 school year. UCPS announced today that its four-year graduation cohort rose to 93 percent for 2015, up from 92.6 percent in 2014. The four-year graduation cohort measures the percentage of students who graduate in four years. This is the highest graduation rate in the school system’s history. For five years, UCPS has shown a steady gain in its graduation rate. 

Two high schools, Central Academy of Arts and Technology and the Union County Early College, had a graduation rate at 100 percent. Seven of UCPS 12 high schools had a rate of 90 percent or higher. Schools that scored above 95 percent are Weddington (99.7), Marvin (99.5), Cuthbertson (98.5) and Porter Ridge (95.7).

In addition, of the 10 largest school districts in the state, UCPS has the highest graduation rate. The North Carolina graduation rate is 85.4 percent.

“This is the highest graduation rate we’ve ever seen in Union County Public Schools and I want to commend our students, principals, staff and parents for working hard and staying focused,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis. “While I am pleased with this progress, I am not resting on these numbers. I would like to see all high school students earn a high school diploma.”

The state also released results from the READY initiative which measures academic growth and proficiency. Growth reflects the academic progress students made during the course of one school year. 

In the 2014-15 school year, more UCPS students performed on grade level than the previous year. In addition, test results show that 74 percent of schools met or exceeded academic growth goals for 2014-15.

The district performance composite was 63.3 percent for College and Career Readiness and 72.1 percent for Grade Level Proficiency. This compares to 62.2 percent and 71.5 percent in 2013-14. 

As a requirement of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind, schools are measured against Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). These objectives are a series of performance targets that states, school districts and specific subgroups of students must achieve each year to meet federal requirements. In 2014-15, 21 out of 52 or 40.4 percent of schools met AMOs. The number of schools that met AMOs in 2013-14 was 26.

“The targets and subgroups will increase each year and this means we have to do more to close achievement gaps in our schools,” Ellis said. “We’ve seen the data and we know where improvements are needed.” 

2014-15 READY Accountability Data Highlights:

  • 72.1 percent of 3-8 graders met grade level proficiency (Levels 3-5)
  • 63.3 percent of 3-8 graders met College and Career Ready measures (Levels 4-5)
  • 74 percent of schools met or exceeded academic growth goals in 2014-15
  • 15 schools (30%) exceeded expected growth
  • 22 schools (44%) met expected growth
  • 13 schools (26%) did not meet expected growth
  • 91.1 percent of third graders were proficient in reading following the Read to Achieve summer camp 

For the second year, North Carolina has released performance grades for schools. As required by state legislation, School Performance Grades are based on 80 percent of the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth.  

Based on state measures, out of the 50 schools that were scored in Union County Public Schools, 44 (88%) earned a score of C or better and 14 (28%) schools received an A or better.  In addition, the state added an A+ grade to the list of designations and 8 schools received this distinction. 

Three schools, Wolfe, Walter Bickett Education Center and South Providence, were not scored because they do not fit the NC Performance Grades model. School grades are provided on a 15-point scale.

For additional district and state data, visit www.ncpublicschools.org.

Written by: Tahira Stalberte, Chief Communications Officer
Posted: Sep 02, 2015 by Deb Bledsoe

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