CHAPEL HILL – Economically disadvantaged children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system didn’t meet state standards under the new Common Core READY system, but state officials and district leaders say the new system needs time to normalize.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ Superintendent Tom Forcella says plans have already been put into motion to improve on the numbers that for the most part met or exceeded the new standards in most categories.

“We’ve created a new long-range plan—a new vision for the school district—which is rooted in the concept of a growth mindset, which believes that intelligence is not stagnant, that I.Q. was developed as a way to sort children,” Forcella says.

The Long Range Plan lays out a five-year strategy of implementing 28 goals—some of which will take a multiple years to take full effect and others that may only take a year.

“One of our goals in our new plan is to eliminate the achievement gap,” Forcella says. “We have a number of strategies in place to do that. One is the equal opportunity schools initiative, but we also feel the way to do that is to improve instruction in all our classrooms.”

Executive Director of Testing and Program Evaluation, Diane Villwock says the new Common Core Standards are all about better understanding the information.

“The difference in Common Core is there are far fewer standards,” Villwock says. “So, the amount of stuff that people are supposed to learn in a given year is quite a bit smaller. But, they’re going to learn it at a much deeper level.”

Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools met 96.6 percent of the 560 federal goals, which have been in place since 2001; North Carolina’s READY structure of Common Core Standards were met at a rate of 94.6 percent and included 947 goals.

Villwock says it’s important for parents not to jump to conclusions about these numbers, because there’s really no way of telling just how the numbers stack up.

“It’s significantly like—so much so—that (the state) said this is baseline data—it’s our first year picture—and we can’t compare it to last year,” Villwock says. “I’ve been doing this job for over 20 years, and we’ve never said that before.”

To see Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ scores in the READY Common Core Standards, click here.

To see the statewide READY Accountability Report, click here.



2012-13 Testing Results Released for CHCCS

Proficiency expectations met in nearly every area

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) students met or exceeded proficiency expectations in nearly every area in 2012-13, according to newly released testing results from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The one area where expectations were not met was the Economically Disadvantaged Students group.

According to the results released November 7, the district met 96.6 percent of the 560 federal goals and 94.6 percent of the 947 state goals. Of the 27 achievement goals that were missed, 20 were for the Economically Disadvantaged Students group.

“We recognize there is one group that stands out in the data, one group that whose academic needs are not being met,” said Superintendent Tom Forcella. “Our district’s greatest challenge is bringing up the proficiency levels of our economically disadvantaged students.”

Thursday’s results are the first to be released as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s Standard Course of Study, the student assessment program and the school accountability model. The new student assessments were aligned to the revised Standard Course of Study and were given for the first time in the 2012-13 school year. As a result, these proficiency results cannot be compared with previous years’ scores. This year’s scores will serve as a baseline to measure gains in future years.

Whenever new standards are set, test score results indicate a drop at first. This is an ordinary trend. While CHCCS scores appear significantly lower than in previous years, it is important to note that new Common Core Standards have ushered in increased rigor and higher expectations. Compared to previous years, students must demonstrate higher levels of achievement in order to be considered proficient. Within the new parameters, the district outpaced state proficiency averages by a wide margin.

The new accountability model uses End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests, ACT scores, graduation rates, math course rigor, ACT WorkKeys assessments and other information to measure student performance.

The goal of the accountability program is to reduce the percent of students in each of the tested subgroups who are non-proficient by half over a six-year period. Proficiency is defined as Level III or IV on state tests. Levels I and II are considered non-proficient. The federal subgroups include: all, African American, Asian, Latino, Multi-racial, Native American, White, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient and students with disabilities. The state also reports outcomes for academically intellectually gifted students.

Schools also continued to be measured against Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) to ensure that attention remains focused on closing performance gaps among student subgroups. The AMOs were developed using federal guidelines and are a series of performance targets that specific subgroups of students must achieve each year to meet the federal law’s requirements. The AMOs were recalculated for the 2012-13 accountability year since all the tests given were new this past year.

The results show that in 2012-13:

  • The district met 96.6 percent of the federal goals and 94.6 percent of 947 state goals.
  • Of the 51 goals not met across the schools and the district, 27 were for groups not having sufficiently high achievement compared to the AMOs, and 24 were for not testing the required 95 percent of students (participation).
  • Of the 27 achievement goals that were missed, 20 were for the Economically Disadvantaged Students group. The Economically Disadvantaged Students group is defined as those students receiving free or reduced lunch price. No other group failed to meet more than two goals.
  • All, but one, of the missed participation goals were at the high school level. Of the 24 participation goals missed, 15 ACT participation goals were missed. The average number of students by which a participation goal was missed was three students. Letters will be sent to parents at schools where participation goals were missed, explaining the steps that will be taken to ensure at least 95 percent of each student group participates in each state assessment.

“Students must meet more rigorous standards and demonstrate their understanding of concepts in more challenging ways,” said Dr. Magda Parvey, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. “We are entirely focused on aligning our curriculum and teaching strategies to the new standards. Our teachers and instructional team continue to participate in professional development with high expectations for raising student achievement levels.”

The 2012-13 school year is considered a transition year for student performance results, so there will be no consequences for students or schools this year.