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District ranks 26th out of 115 districts

Last updated: March 04. 2014 4:53PM - 1100 Views
By - abulluck@civitasmedia.com



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When the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) released the 2012-13 Report Card last week for all schools and school districts across the state, Ashe County Schools met over 90 percent of its academic objectives and performed in the top 25 percent of the state’s districts.

“In 2012-2013, four schools met their Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) in all subgroups, and our district met 38 out of 42 (or 90.5 percent) proficiency targets,” said Director of Title I and Students Service Programs for Ashe County Schools Kimberly Barnes,

AMOs are what the U.S. Department of Education and NCDPI use to measure a school’s academic progress.

Blue Ridge Elementary was the only school in the distrct to fall short of its AMOs.

“Ashe County’s overall performance proficiency ranks 26 out of 115 school districts,” Ashe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Holden said.

Asked whether he was pleased with the overall results, Holden said, “No.”

“None of the principals are pleased either,” Holden said. “But the thing is that we have to remember that this was based on a new curriculum with a new test.”

Teachers are having to adjust to new state-mandated standards for teaching and testing, such as Common Core. In a sense, they’re having to play a game of perpetual catch-up.

“They’re changing the way we teach, with Common Core,” Holden said. “Now we have an assessment that’s more rigorous.”

On the upside, Holden believes the new guidelines will help students be more competitive with other states.

In turn, Holden compared the current situation between teachers and the new AMOs to basketball.

“I think we’ve got a great team of teachers,” said Holden. “But imagine you’re used to playing with a 10-foot goal and it’s raised to 15 feet?”

For high schools, grades are based on a combination of factors: student performance on End-of-Course (EOC) and End-of-Grade (EOG) tests in English II, Math I and Biology, the passing rates of different student groups (based on ethnicity, gender, family circumstances and racial backgrounds) and AMOs.

Elementary and middle schools are graded on a similar scale with the exception being that EOGs are in Reading and Math.

The following are the 2012-13 Report Card results for all five local schools:

Ashe County High: 49.4 percent of students performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 51.2 percent in English II, while 45.2 percent performed at or above grade level compared with 36.3 percent in Math II and 37 percent of students performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 45.6 percent in Biology.

Ashe County Middle: 53.1 percent of students performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 43.9 percent in Reading, while 48.4 percent performed at or above grade level in Math compared with the state average of 42.3 percent.

Blue Ridge Elementary: 36 percent of students performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 43.9 percent in Reading, while 35.3 percent performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 42.3 percent in Math.

Mountain View Elementary: 49.6 percent of students performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 43.9 percent in Reading, while 51.3 percent performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 42.3 percent in Math.

Westwood Elementary: 46 percent of students performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 43.9 percent in Reading, while 53.4 percent performed at or above grade level compared with the state average of 42.3 percent in Math.

Following the results, Holden remains optimistic about the future.

He said at mid-year, teachers at the high school are already seeing gains in proficiency. His expectation is there will be similar results at the other schools in Ashe.

“We have to adapt and overcome,” Holden said. “Adapt to Common Core and overcome that, and adapt to new testing and overcome that.”

Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.


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