SCS sees improvement on state exam scores, though more than half of students failed

Published 4:31 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

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Stanly County Schools students performed better on state exams for the 2021-22 academic year compared with the prior year, though slightly more than half still failed, according to test results released by the state on Thursday.

The district’s 47.4 percent grade level proficiency rate for all students slightly trailed the statewide proficiency rate of 51.4 percent.

It was a marked improvement from the 41.1 percent during the 2020-2021 year, but was well behind pre-Covid academic years. During the 2018-2019 year, for example, 57.5 percent of all SCS students passed their exams.

There was no data for 2019-2020, since end-of-year testing was waived due to the onset of the pandemic.

The proficiency rate was 48.5 percent for the exams given to elementary and middle school students, up from 40.9 percent in 2020-21, and 43.4 percent for exams given to high school students, up from 42.1 percent the prior school year.

Of the 23 schools in the district, all but four performed better on exams last school year. Endy Elementary, North Stanly High and Stanly County Virtual Education scored a few points worse. Stanfield Elementary actually had the same score — 48.5 percent of students achieved proficiency in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Other local districts, including Anson, Montgomery and Rowan-Salisbury, also had a majority of students not pass state exams.

One of the starkest differences in the newly-released testing scores came by race. According to the data released Thursday, 55.6 percent of Asian and 53.7 percent of white students across the district were grade-level proficient; however, only 40.9 percent Hispanic students and 23.5 percent of Black students achieved proficiency.

The group that performed the best were the “Academically or Intellectually Gifted” students, of which 93 percent passed their exams, an improvement of about four percentage points on the prior school year.
The percentage of students in SCS who are college and career ready is 29.5 percent, according to the newest results. That’s an improvement from the 24.5 percent in 2020-2021.
The two public schools that performed the best were Stanly STEM Early College, with 87.9 percent percent of students proficient in all subjects, and Stanly Early College High, where 84.2 percent of students were proficient in all subjects.
The Stanly News & Press reached out to Stanly County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis for comment on the exam data. No comment was available as of publication.
For Gray Stone Day School, 80.8 percent of its students achieved proficiency, improving about five percentage points from the previous year.
“I am pleased that our students performed as well as they did,” Gray Stone Chief Administrative Officer Helen Nance said.
She added that 96 percent of the 2022 graduating class is attending college this fall, “therefore we are meeting our goal to prepare students for college.”

The student achievement data for the 2021-22 school year are based on analysis of all end-of-grade (EOG) and end-of-course (EOC) tests, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The data reveals the percentage of students who scored at Level 3 and above (grade level proficiency), at Level 4 and above (college and career readiness) and at each academic achievement level.

The new test results also include letter grades for each of the schools based largely on their test results along with their growth status. Seventeen of the 23 schools either “met” or “exceeded” growth last year while 11 schools scored at least a C or higher. Stanly Academy Learning Center received neither a grade nor status on its growth.

Stanly Early College High and Stanly STEM Early College were the only schools in the SCS district to receive A grades. Locust Elementary, Oakboro Choice STEM and West Stanly High received B grades. Gray Stone also received a B.

For the A-F school grades, 80 percent of the grade is based mostly on test scores and 20 percent is for growth, measured by a statistical model that evaluates schools’ progress across years, according to NCDPI.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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