North Carolina school tests reports released Wednesday morning showed that 10 of the 12 public schools in the Orange County Schools district met or exceeded expectations for the 2018-2019 school year.
Although new tests were introduced for the past year, the classrooms in Orange County were able to adjust accordingly. Six schools in the district exceed expectations: Cedar Ridge High School, Cameron Park Elementary School, Central Elementary School, Efland Cheeks Elementary School, Hillsborough Elementary School and New Hope Elementary School, while four schools met expectations: Orange High School, A L Stanback Middle School, Grady Brown Elementary School and Pathways Elementary School.
In addition, four schools in the district received a School Performance Grade of B, which was calculated by adding the School Achievement Score and School Growth Score together.
According to the 2018-2019 School Performance Grades Workbook, the School Performance Grade breakdown is marked at 80 percent achievement and 20 percent growth, with different factors taking precedent at the elementary and middle school levels, as opposed to the high school level.
For the elementary and middle school levels, Reading and Mathematics Assessments, English Learner Progress and Science Assessments make up 80 percent of the indicators, with EVAAS school growth (reading, mathematics and science) constituting the final 20 percent.
The high school indicators are put together with 80 percent of the score coming from Reading/Mathematics Assessments, English Learner Progress, 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate, Biology Assessments, ACT/WorkKeys Assessments, Passing NC Math 3 Course and 20 percent of the score calculated through EVAAS School Growth (Reading and Mathematics).
Both high schools in the district — Cedar Ridge and Orange — received grades of B for the 2018-2019 calendar year. The other two schools that received a B were both elementary schools — Cameron Park Elementary School and Hillsborough Elementary School.
Across the state, schools saw a slight rise in performance scores, with 37.3 percent of schools earning an A or B grade this year, compared to 35.6 percent of schools earning such a mark last year, according to the Durham Herald Sun.
That was not the case in Orange County, where the same four schools that received a B for the 2017-2018 year evaluation also received a B for the 2018-2019 year.
In fact, every school in the district retained the same letter grade for the 2018-2019 calendar year as the year prior, with seven schools receiving a grade of C: Efland Cheeks Elementary School, Grady Brown Elementary School, New Hope Elementary School, Pathways Elementary Schools, A L Stanback Middle School, Charles W Stanford Middle School and Gravelly Hill Middle School. One school in the district received a grade of D — Central Elementary School — but the school had measured growth in achievement evidenced by the school exceeding expectations for test scores.
No school in the district was listed as a low-performing school in the state report.
Perhaps the most promising development came from the 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate at the high school level. While the average graduation rate in the state hovered at 86.5 percent, both Cedar Ridge and Orange High exceeded that mark. Cedar Ridge increased its graduation rate from 83.4 percent for the 2017-2018 calendar year to 89.5 percent this past year, while Orange High rose from 89.9 percent to 90 percent.
Seth Stephens, Chief Communications Officer for Orange County Schools, noted his pleasure in the district’s evaluation while stating that the schools will aim to keep improving their scores.
“We are pleased to see the gains in growth in our schools,” Stephens said in a statement sent to the News of Orange. “There is still plenty of work ahead of us, and our teachers are up for the challenge.”