Clinton, Sampson County Schools test scores released

By: By Chase Jordan -

Along with other districts throughout the United States, local students are doing better on state tests, according to city and county school officials.

The State Board of Education recently released data which featured the overall composite score on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests results. Sampson County School (SCS) students increased for the 2014-15 school year to 57.4 percent, which is up from 54.3 percent in 2013-14. Clinton City Schools’ (CCS) percentage increased as well, from 53.2 percent in 2013-14 to 59.2 percent for 2014-15.

SCS Superintendent Eric Bracy said the continued overall increase confirm for parents and the community that schools are achieving success with many students.

“Academic growth is a key goal for us each year,” Bracy said. “We are committed to offering the support every student needs in order to have a superior command of the subject matter and be career and college ready.”

More than 70 percent of public schools in North Carolina earned a C or better. Sampson County and Clinton City Schools are lumped in that category. According to the Department of Public Instruction, the School Performance Grades are based 80 percent on the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth. The only exception to this is if a school meets expected growth but inclusion of the school’s growth reduces the school’s performance score and grade. In that case, a school may choose to use the School Achievement Score only to determine the performance score and grade.

All public schools, including charter schools, receive grades.

In Sampson County, a total of 14 schools met or exceeded expectations for academic growth that are set by the state. Clement Elementary School, Hobbton Middle School, Midway Middle School and Midway High School did not meet growth. Plain View Elementary and Hobbton High reached higher levels and thus exceeded growth in 2014-15. Both schools met growth the previous year. In addition, the district’s graduation rate continued to improve. That four-year rate is 80.5 percent, up from 80.2 in 2013-14.

Standards for schools in the state were increased for the 2013-14 year. During that year, the state adopted a five-level achievement scale. The state now reports on end-of-grade and end-of-course performance, overall proficiency, academic growth, School Performance Grades, and graduation rates.

For grades 3-8, the state offers reading and mathematics end-of-grade assessments and science assessments in grades 5 and 8. The high school accountability model is based on end-of-course tests in English II, Biology, and Math I; the ACT; graduation rates; math course rigor; and ACT WorkKeys.

In the CCS district, Butler Elementary School and Sampson Middle School exceeded growth expectations. Clinton High School and Sunset Avenue did not meet growth expectations, according to data provided by state officials, but were given a letter grade of a C, based on other data and measurement factors.

High schools have more accountability measures included in their School Performance Grade calculations than elementary and middle schools have. High schools also are evaluated based on the percentage of 11th graders who meet the UNC System minimum admission requirement of a composite score of 17 on The ACT college readiness exam.

In 2014-15, 59.7 percent of juniors met the minimum 17 score across the state. Other high school measurements include ACT WorkKeys (percentage of graduates who are Career and Technical Education concentrators who earn a Silver Certificate or higher) and the percentage of students passing Math III. In 2014-15, 72.2 percent of qualifying students met the WorkKeys benchmark (an improvement over the previous year), and more than 95 percent of students passed Math III (same as previous year).

CCS Assistant Superintendent Mark Duckworth noted that he was pleased with the data, which includes 29 grade proficiency measurements.

He noted how the district surpassed the state average in 20 areas which include different subject areas and categories. In addition, he noted how the graduation amounts were “phenomenal” as well. During the previous year, the rate was 84.7 percent. The state’s graduation rate was 85.4 percent while CCS had a rate of 89.5 percent. In the graduation category, he said several subgroups increased as well.

“We’re extremely pleased,” Duckworth said.

Duckworth noted how the district will continue to make improvements when it comes to education.

“Are we satisfied? No we’re not satisfied,” he said. “But we’ve made tremendous improvements. I think we are set to make continued academic success for all students in our district going forward. We’re looking forward to the future.”

By Chase Jordan