The Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) recently touted NC EOG (End of Grade) scores as ‘hopeful’ and ‘positive’. A deep dive into the data says otherwise – the needle, so to speak, really isn’t moving. In particular, minority student scores are alarming and are either falling or stagnant.
Keep in mind as one reads that NC DPI has reported that NC has an 86.5% graduation rate and 73.7% of schools are “meeting growth goals” on state tests. It is suspected by some that the “Credit Recovery” program has been having an undue impact on the graduation rate by allowing failing students to still get a diploma.
Bear in mind when viewing these charts that NC DPI had the NC EOG tests Common Core-aligned after the 2013-14 school year as the previous year’s scores take a nosedive. The jump between 2013-14 and 2014-15 displays that change in testing.
In addition to changing the tests, the grading scale was also altered from a 1-4 point scale to a 5 point scale.
North Carolina’s new 5 point scale system sets levels 1 and 2 to indicate the student is below grade level. Students are only considered grade-level proficient after reaching level 3 through 5.
On the previous scoring scale, levels 3 and 4 were indicators of proficiency or career and college readiness. Without question, this change made the NC EOG results more forgiving in that more kids were pulled in as ‘proficient’ or career and college ready.
Across all subjects and grade levels, 59.2 percent of North Carolina students earned grade-level proficiency, that is, Level 3 and above. A much lower percentage, 49.2 percent, met the “career and college ready” standard or Level 4 and above. Both are trending in the positive direction, but the fact remains that around half of North Carolina students are not on track to be prepared academically for life after graduation.
NC EOG – Math
Taking a look at the NC EOG scores for grades 3-5, there have been small upticks followed by drops. Overall, the 3rd grade NC EOG in math shows fractional gains for a few years and peaked at 64.6% of students being grade-level proficient. Last year, scores dropped by one percentage point.
As for “career and college ready”, the rate of increase is atrocious. Common Core’s key theme it that it is supposed to make children “career and college ready.” After 5 full years of using it, only 52% meet that benchmark. Alternatively, 48% do not.
Looking at the individual proficiency rates for math, the scores starting 2013-14 and ending in 2016-17 have seen modest increases.
A good portion of the student percentages seems to be falling in levels 2 and 4. Each percent level within each grade appears to maintain similar scores (within 1-3 points up or down).
The change between 2013-14’s scores and 2016-17’s grade-level proficiency (GLP) and career and college ready (CCR) categories are broken out by grade level below.
- Grade 3: 12.2 CCR, 10.5 GLP
- Grade 4: 11.4 CCR, 11 GLP
- Grade 5: 9.7 CCR, 10.4 GLP
NC DPI has characterized these results ‘positive gains’, however, it’s not so positive if one compares grade three during one year with grade four the following year. In other words, follow the students, not the grade level itself.
The third-grade students in 2014-15 were 4th graders in 2015-16. Looking at the accompanying percent levels, the scores barely move.
NC EOG – ELA Scores
The NC EOG English Language Arts scores for the same grade level (3) don’t tell much of a tale either. With barely 1% point gains, they’re basically flat.
“Career and College Ready” percentages peaked in 2015-16 at 47.8% and then promptly dropped the following year to 46.1%.
So, after 6 years, North Carolina Students have yet to break the 50% mark of Common Core’s defining feature. It’s not a stretch to say that at this rate it is doubtful NC students ever will.
Looking at the NC EOG for ELA by grade level and by proficiency level, the numbers are not encouraging.
The take away here lies in the last two right-hand side columns in the chart below. These are the number of students who are not career and college ready nor grade-level proficient.
When comparing 2013-14 to 2016-17, Career and College Ready Percentages all have dropped, as has grade-level proficiency. That comparison is as follows:
- Grade 3: -3.5 CCR, -2.9 GLP
- Grade 4: -3.9 CCR, -7.1 GLP
- Grade 5: -9.7 CCR, -10.4 GLP
It’s worth noting, that aside from the ELA EOG, Read to Achieve saw some scary results in North Carolina’s second largest district. Some 5,000 3rd graders (roughly 40% of the class) failed the test.
NC EOG – Minority Scores
Taking a look at the NC EOG scores broken out by ethnicity, it was alarming to see what happened to the historical view of minority student scores.
The chart above is the combined percentage rates for all EOG tests in grades 3-5. To the left, charts the percentage change from the previous year’s score and it’s horrifying.
For example, the 2016-17 American Indian percentage score was 34%, the year prior it was 36%. That difference is represented in the breakout chart on the right as -2.00%.
The only ethnicity to maintain a semi-steady set of percentages were Asian students.
Other Testing and School Grade Take-Aways
Only 35.2% of traditional public schools were given an A or B grade.
Charter schools (again) had a much higher percentage of A and B schools. 43.5% for public charter schools ranked A’s and B’s compared to 35.2 percent traditional public schools.
Charters, however, also had a slightly higher percentage of D and F ranked schools. The rate was 25.2% for public charter schools versus 22.5% for traditional public schools.
Of 11th graders tested in the state, 59% met the University of NC College system’s minimum ACT score of 17.
According to NC DPI, only 45.9% of students in Grades 3-8 are proficient in both math and reading. Yet, remember – NC DPI boasts an 86.5% graduation rate and 73.7% of schools are “meeting growth goals” on state tests.
The data discussed here came from three main reports via the Accountability Section of their website:
- 2016-17 State, District, and School Level Summary Data (xlsx, 1.1mb)
- 2016-17 State, District, and School Level Drilldown Performance Data
- 2016-17 State, District, and School Level End-of-Course and End-of-Grade Achievement Level Report (xlsx, 2.5mb)