Low test scores in east Wake mean more changes

mhankerson@newsobserver.comNovember 12, 2013 

  • Grading the schools

    Listed below by school are the percentages of students performing at or above grade level in eastern Wake County.

    Elementary schools – Carver, 41.5; Forestville Road, 44.9; Hodge Road, 22.9; Knightdale, 39.6; Lake Myra, 48.4; Lockhart, 42.7; Wakelon, 35.6; Wendell, 36.6; and Zebulon, 44.8.

    Middle schools – East Wake, 30.6; Wendell, 33.8; and Zebulon, 38.3.

    High schools – East Wake School of Arts, Education and Global Studies, 41.9; East Wake School of Engineering Systems, 29.5; East Wake School of Health Sciences, 37.5; East Wake School of Integrated Technology, 24.1; and Knightdale, 26.9

    Charter schools – East Wake Academy, 54.5.

— Low test scores in eastern Wake County could mean another adjustment for teachers, who earlier overhauled their lessons plans in advance of new testing standards this year.

The release of the first end-of-grade tests under the new Common Core curriculum showed that no noncharter public school in eastern Wake County had more than 50 percent of its students performing at or above grade level.

Lake Myra Elementary School in Wendell had the highest proficiency rate in eastern Wake County, with 48.4 percent of students at or above grade level. At East Wake Academy, a public charter school in Zebulon, 54.5 percent of students passed the year-end tests, though the school did not meet the state’s expectations for academic growth.

Growth targets require students to show a year’s worth of academic growth regardless of their baseline and proficiency.

At a news conference last week, Wake County school officials congratulated teachers, parents and students for their adjustment to new, higher standards and for meeting growth targets. but Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore also said teachers will have to look at making adjustments in the classroom.

“Teachers will be reviewing the data about how the students performed,” Moore said. “They will make changes to instruction ... (and) in their planning.”

In eastern Wake, Moore said, the Knightdale Area Education Work Group will also play a key role in addressing the low test scores.

Hodge Road Elementary was one of the schools included in the independent audit that led to the work group, whose aim is to improve eastern Wake schools. It was the area’s lowest-scoring school, with just 22.9 percent of students performing at or above grade level.

“The work (in eastern Wake) has just begun and is moving forward,” Moore said. “We expect the new information we got today to inform that work as well.”

Joining Moore at the news conference were Superintendent James Merrill and Brad McMillan, senior director of data and accountability. All said teachers had done a good job adjusting to the Common Core standards, which Merrill described as rigorous.

“The new standards have demanded a lot of our students and teachers, to say the least,” Merrill said.

Moore said teachers attended training to help adapt to the new standards.

Overall, Wake County had a 55.8 percent passing rate on the year-end tests, which was almost 11 percent more than the state’s average. The highest-scoring school in the county was Davis Drive Elementary in Cary, with 86.8 percent of students at or above grade level.


Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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