The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) has released student achievement data for the 2015-16 school year. Data includes school level, district level, and student achievement information.
As previously reported, the graduation rate in the state, as indicated by NC DPI, is 85.8%. However, the grade level proficiency and career and college readiness of students in key subject areas of English and Math remain nearly unchanged and low.
The End of Grade (EOG) exams are given to students in grades 3-8. They consist of two exams, math, and English. Science exams are added in grades 5 and 8.
A look at the overall results of all EOG’s shows a state grade-level proficiency rate of 56.3%.
The previous year’s state grade-level proficiency rate was 55.7%. This represents an increase of just .6%.
The career and college ready rate for 2015-16 is 46.7%. In 2014-15, the overall career and college ready rate was 45.8%.
This represents an increase of just .9%.
The state has been using the Common Core State Standards for four years, yet overall, the needle barely moved in the ‘career and college ready’ category.
Overall for grades 3 to 8, the math career and college readiness is 44.1%. That means that overall, 55.9% of students are not grade-level proficient in math. The year prior, the overall career and college ready rate (grades 3-8) was 43.1%. That only a 1% increase.
The overall grade level proficiency is 52.2%. The previous year, the overall grade level proficiency was 51.0%. This is only a 1.2% gain.
Overall for grades 3 to 8, the English career and college readiness is 45.1%. The previous year the career and college ready rate stood at 44.7%. That’s an increase of only .4%.
The grade level proficiency is 56.3%, which is the same as the previous year.
Common Core Has Had Negligible Impact
For all the talk of Common Core being what’s needed to raise achievement, the standards do not appear to be making a dent.
Students who were in Kindergarten during the 2012-13 school year were the first to be exposed to Common Core. Those students would be entering 4th grade this year and would have been in 3rd grade last year.
Below is a comparison of the 2015-16 3rd grade EOG’s versus the previous year. These students, like the students the year prior, have only been taught using the Common Core State Standards.
Math – Grade 3
2015-16 Career and college ready rate: 48.8%
2014-15 Career and college ready rate: 48.3%
2015-16 Grade level proficiency rate: 61.7%
2014-15 Grade level proficiency rate: 60.9%
Career and college readiness gained .5% points. Grade level proficiency gained .8%.
English – Grade 3
2015-16 Career and college ready rate: 46.5%
2014-15 Career and college ready rate: 47.7%
2015 -16 Grade level proficiency rate: 59.0%
2014-15 Grade level proficiency rate: 60.2%
Career and college readiness dropped 1.2%. Grade level proficiency dropped 1.2%.
In a statement to the News and Observer, NC Superintendent June Atkinson blamed pre-k enrollment limitations and parents not enrolling their kids in Summer reading camps as possible explanations for the drop. Atkinson left out Common Core as a possible factor.
“Possibilities for the decline include not enough spaces in prekindergarten for students who need to prepare for school, teacher turnover in the early grades, and parents not enrolling children in summer reading camps that are designed to help students catch up, Atkinson said.”
Breakout by Ethnicity
The breakout of minority scores for the same grade level (3rd grade overall EOG) showed no improvement but instead decreases. The first and highlighted score below is career and college readiness. The second score is grade-level proficiency.
Comparing the 3rd-grade EOG overall percentages between 2014-15 and 2015-16 white students saw little to no gains.
In fact, career and college readiness only ticked up a mere .2% and grade level proficiency ticked up .1%.
Asian students, by comparison, inched up only slightly but made the biggest gains of any racial group.
- 2014-15 Career and college ready: 69.6%
- 2014-15 Grade level proficiency: 78.8%
- 2015-16 Career and college ready: 70.9%
- 2015-16 Grade level proficiency: 80.2%
Career and college readiness increased 1.3% and grade-level proficiency up 1.4%.