School test scores released

By Adam Orr - [email protected]

JEFFERSON-All things considered, Ashe County Schools continues to stack up well when compared to districts across the state.

That news comes from data released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. State education officials unveiled the latest batch of test scores last week for the 2015-2016 school year.

The data considers everything from End of Course and End of Grade test scores, to ACT scores and graduation rates, among other indicators of school performance. Each district school is also given a both a performance score and a letter grade.

Ashe County Schools Director of Accountability Phil Howell said Tuesday the district ranks 21st overall, among the top 18 percent of the state’s 115 school districts.

“We’ve made some gains in places, but that’s in line with where we’ve been in previous years,” Howell said.

2015-2016 School Performance Grades

Mountain View Elementary: B

Westwood Elementary School: B

Ashe County High School: C

Blue Ridge Elementary: C

Ashe County Middle School: C

Those letter grades were assigned to each school based on its “performance grade score.” On that scale, Mountain View scored the highest at 72, followed by Westwood at 70, Ashe County High at 69, Blue Ridge at 67 and Ashe County Middle at 65.

But district officials have criticized the grading scale in the past, claiming it puts too much weight – 80 percent – on arbitrary performance targets and not enough on how much schools have improved from year-to-year.

Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, the North Carolina General Assembly mandated all schools be assigned A-F letter grades based on student achievement and growth. But the majority of the grading component is based on student achievement scores, with just a fifth of the grade coming from how much improvement students show over the year.

According to the most currently released data, all county schools met or exceeded state mandated performance growth targets with the exception of Ashe County High School. Howell said ACHS just missed meeting “met growth” criteria by less than a percentage point.

Reading and Math Grades

Ranked on reading performance, Westwood scored a B on the state’s grading scale while the middle school, Blue Ridge and Mountain View each scored a C. Mountain View outperformed according to math metrics – it scored a B – Blue Ridge, Westwood and ACMS each scored a C.

Graduation statistics

The district’s four year graduation rate, 84 percent, lagged slightly behind the state’s average of 86 percent. The local five year graduation rate, 87.8 percent, did best the state average of 87.5 percent.

EOC and EOG performance

Here’s how the district compared in various performance categories against the state average. Each is scored in terms of “Grade Level Proficiency.” Higher percentage scores equate to better performance.

State Average all EOC Subjects: 58.5 percent

Ashe County All EOC Subjects 61.1 percent

State Average EOC Biology: 55.5 percent

Ashe County EOC Biology 57.8 percent

State Average EOC English 2: 58.8 percent

Ashe County EOC English 2: 59.6 percent

State Average EOC Math 1: 60.5 percent

Ashe County EOC Math 1: 65.1 percent

State Average EOG Reading Grades 3-8: 56.9 percent

Ashe County EOG Reading Grades 3-8: 62.9 percent

State Average EOG Math Grades 3-8: 54.7 percent

Ashe County EOG Math Grades 3-8: 58.9 percent

State Average EOG Science Grades 5 & 8: 72.7 percent

Ashe County EOG Science Grades 5 & 8: 84 percent

Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.

By Adam Orr

[email protected]

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