CHARLOTTE – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools saw results on state tests stay flat, with advances in college and career-ready science scores as well as declines in elementary and middle school literacy scores for the 2018-19 year.
Nearly three-fourths (71.7%) of its schools met or exceeded growth expectations, compared to 75.6% a year earlier.
CMS said year-over-year comparisons were impossible due to the state changing the math calculation, noting that North Carolina introduced new math scales and a new end-of-course test in Math 3. The state also changed the way it determines which students count as English learners.
For CMS, the percentage of students testing at or above grade-level proficiency declined 0.7 points in reading for grades three through eight and increased 0.8 points in science for grades five and eight. The district outperformed the state on Math 3-8, Science 5 and 8, Math 1, Math 3 and Biology.
“CMS is committed to giving each and every student the best education possible,” Superintendent Earnest Winston said. “We are not where we want to be, but we have a high-quality curriculum and high expectations for all students. With our strategic plan in place and the curriculum changes implemented this year, we are focused on helping all students achieve and further our equity goals.”
The district is working with two new curriculum partners, EL Education for English language arts and Open Up Resources for math. The curriculum is being adopted in kindergarten and grades one, two, three and six for English language arts and grade eight for math. The limited release will allow the district to provide targeted learning and support before the curriculum expands to other grade levels and content areas.
College- and career-readiness rates measure the percentage of students who scored a 4 or a 5 (the highest score) on the state tests. In reading grades three through eight, all racial subgroups except Asian students showed a decrease in college- and career-readiness rates since 2017-18. In English II, all racial subgroups except white students showed an increase in college- and career-readiness rates since 2017-18. The largest increases were 4.7 percentage points for Asian students, 3 points for black students and 2.3 points for Hispanic students. Economically disadvantaged students increased by 1.6 points and students with disabilities increased by 0.8 points. White students’ scores declined by 1.2 points, and EL students’ scores are not comparable to last year’s scores due to a change in the subgroup definition.
By contrast, college- and career-readiness rates stayed steady or increased in all subgroups in science for grades five and eight, with the largest gains recorded by Asian and white students.
“Our community and board of education are focused on the college- and career-readiness of our students,” said Frank Barnes, chief equity officer. “We continue to make progress as we work to narrow the gaps in all subgroups.”
Economically disadvantaged students showed a gain of 2 points, black students 1.8 points and students with disabilities 1 point. Scores for Hispanic students were unchanged from last year.
The district’s graduation rate also increased slightly, from 85.4% to 85.5%. Asian students increased by 2.2 points and had the highest graduation rate across student subgroups. Hispanic students increased by 0.5 points and black students by 0.3 points. White students have historically had the highest graduation rates, but this year their graduation rate declined by 0.7 points.
Nearly 72% of schools met or exceeded growth expectations, and 73% received a school performance grade of A, B or C. CMS had 17 A schools, 53 B schools, 55 C schools, 39 D schools and 7 F schools. Sixty-five percent of schools maintained their school performance grades from 2017-18, and 31 schools (19%) improved from last year.