Area schools make the mark for end-of-grade tests

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email
Updated by Theresa Swenson - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The results are in for area school districts and many reported making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year compared to the previous one.

Twenty-seven of 39 schools in New Hanover County made the AYP grade, passing a set of federal standardized tests introduced with the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001.

But Dr. Rick Holliday, New Hanover Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, says the scores do not tell the whole story.

"AYP is all or nothing," said Holliday. "19 out of 20, that looks really good. That's over 90 percent of the subgroups making it, but according to the federal government, that's a failing school. That's an unfair assessment."

Subgroups are classified by races and economic status. Therefore, students can be part of more than one group, meaning a failing grade can count more than once. And that makes AYP a hard target to hit.

New Hanover County schools have achieved inconsistent results since the first year of testing in 2002-2003 (see below).

The good news this year all of the school systems in our area performed better than last year. Bladen County nearly saw a 50 percent increase in schools passing the AYP.

Dr. Holliday says the tests do make it clear what subgroups schools need to focus on.

"We may have a school that's doing very well overall, but you've got some kids that aren't doing well in that school, so we need to pay attention to it," said Holliday. "It forces us to pay attention to all children."

New Hanover County schools have hired extra staff to track students' progress throughout the year and hope that their efforts now will be 'adequate' for years to come.

Brunswick County

  • 14 schools (or 82.4%) out of 17 made AYP

Columbus County

  • 13 schools (or 68.4%) out of 19 made AYP

Pender County

  • 11 schools (or 68.8%) out of 16 made AYP

Bladen County

  • 9 schools (or 69.2%) out of 13 made AYP

For information about a specific school, click here.  For information about Brunswick County Schools, click here.

New Hanover County Results since 2002

2008-2009 -- 27 Schools (or 69.2%) out of 39 made AYP

*2007-2008 -- 10 Schools (or 25.6%) out of 39 made AYP

2006-2007 -- 14 Schools (or 40.0%) out of 35 made AYP

2005-2006 -- 15 Schools (or 42.9%) out of 35 made AYP

2004-2005 -- 22 Schools (or 64.7%) out of 34 made AYP

2003-2004 -- 27 Schools (or 79.4%) out of 34 made AYP

2002-2003 -- 20 Schools (or 58.8%) out of 34 made AYP

*Dr. Holliday attributes the 2007-08 low scores to a new reading test.  Holliday says the reading portion of the test was raised a level and that part of the reason this year's scores improved so dramatically is because teachers were more prepared for the more difficult assessment.

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