Thursday, January 30, 2014

Check out NC schools: Data reports are up

North Carolina's school report cards for 2012-13 are in  --  perfect timing for those who are school-shopping for the coming year or who just have some extra time on a snow day.

The report cards compile the most recent data on test performance, teacher turnover, class sizes, student suspensions, criminal and violent acts at school and other key checkpoints. They're available for every public school  (that includes charters)  and district.

Update: A reader's comment about the best data being buried reminds me that I forgot to include a basic step that many people miss. The first page that displays is the school profile. To find the best info,  you need to click the dark blue tabs at the top of each school or district's page for high student performance;  safe, orderly and caring schools;  and quality teachers.

You can also check past years,  but don't expect test results to match up.  Remember,  the state introduced new exams last year,  leading to much lower proficiency rates across the board.

You'll also find a line about how many Annual Measurable Objectives,  or AMOs,  each school met,  instead of the AYP goals listed previously.   I won't bother detailing the difference because I don't think  those measures tell you anything about academic performance that you won't get more clearly from the other breakdowns.

As always:  Remember that numbers provide a great framework for asking questions and fact-checking what you may hear from people pitching an option.  But they never give the full picture of a school.  If you assume the best numbers equal the best education,  you may miss a school that's right for your child.

As for this year's enrollment and demographics for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools  ...  still waiting.


BolynMcClung said...

It is a great thing that CMS hasn’t provided demographics and data on schools.

If the policy is for every neighborhood to have a top notch school then why does anyone need demographics? Don’t you know your neighbors? That’s the key factor.

If you believe that family income is the key determining factor in school performance then the U.S. Census data is what you really need.

If your thing is sports then just look at the high school standings in the paper.

CMS data is the last place parents should look.

Oops, I forgot about those magnets and choice schools. Well, you only need to look at District Six which has no magnets and choice yet has the best student performance. Once again…census data is key…or ask a real estate agent. Even better find an agent who in a former life was a CMS teacher.
Bolyn McClung

Gary Bender said...

I find it interesting that the state collects and includes on the school report card data about what percentage of a school's teachers have advanced degrees and how much work experience they have. The legislature, through its actions, seems to think that those statistics should have no bearing on a teacher's salary, yet they are important enough to put on the state's school report card.

Ann, perhaps someone in the DPI or the legislature could explain this inconsistency.

bythesea said...

The state's Data Report shows the two problems with our evaluation and reporting system. First, the results are buried, you have to dig to get to anything useful. Second, the measure is more of a reflection of the academic ability of the students, not a reflection of what the school did with the student. We need to emphasize growth of the students. Only then will NC be doing anything useful.

Anonymous said...

The data is in, CMS closes schools again due to winter weather. Even the students are shaking their heads with this decision. What % of the bus routes were still impassable? I'm certain most parents could have gotten their kids to school today (so they could go to their employer). More silly decisions being made in the white ivory towers.

Anonymous said...

bythesea, it is practically useless in it's current form. It's all smoke and mirrors, and a waste of everyone's time and money. Just think of all the resources that went into just that report.

Jimmyjohn said...

8:49 In my day, if a bus couldn't get in a neighborhood it picked all the kids up at the entrance/main road. It was standard procedure and we never missed school for silly things like this.

Unfortunately our school district is dictated by state and federal rules and regulations that making common sense decisions, such as should there be school on 1/30 or not, is not about the students but about "safety". We all know what that means. Even though there may be a few neighborhoods (a handful of students) that are still impassable, they make this wide sweeping decision for all 144,000 students. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

this might have been discussed in past years, but the math 1 reporting at the high school level can be misleading.

since this course is offered in 8th grade most advanced students take it during that year. these numbers being included in the district average, but not the high school.

Ann Doss Helms said...

9:25, that's a great point about high school math results. They had the same issue with algebra I, and I was thinking at some point they started including scores that students had earned in middle school as part of the high school totals. But they changed from algebra I to math I last year, so I suspect you're right that scores from the higher-performing math students (who may have taken the algebra test in 2011-12) are absent.

Anonymous said...

including the tests at the high school
level would be difficult. for example, bradley splits to hopewell and hough. so, who gets the data? you say, well its easy the eoc is tied to the student and its known what hs they will attend. Then you need to wrestle with what does that score at the hs school level mean. is it a measure of results of teaching or of the aptitude of the student body?

though if the assumption is made that the ms students would have still performed regardless of teacher then the inclusion of their numbers at the high school makes sense. the summarized numbers always represent both teaching and student body.

Babbs said...

as with pretty much everything within CMS, the decision makers are too far removed from the students.

Wiley Coyote said...

$55 million dollars in private money to buy quality teachers, yet West Charlotte's classes taught by high quality teachers dropped 2%.

Or were high quality classes dumbed down so there was no need for a high quality teacher?

Also, 96% of classes (down from 98%) are taught by a "high quality teacher", yet only 22% of teachers have advanced degrees and only 11 are board certified.

•Highly Qualified Teachers:

To be deemed highly qualified, teachers must have: 1) a bachelor's degree, 2) full state certification or licensure, and 3) prove that they know each subject they teach.

The difference between 22% of teachers having advanced degrees and the rest is a big number.

Since the federal government's definition of a "high quality teacher" is as defined above, is it any wonder the state decided advanced degrees are immaterial?

Anonymous said...

Schools put way too much emphasis on tests and not retention (cliché, maybe, but it's repeated again and again for a reason).

Anonymous said...

OK--a few comments on this...

1. Advanced degrees don't really mean a whole lot. Many teachers get them just to get them. I'd take a dedicated, passionate, enthusiastic teacher with a bachelor's degree any day over an apathetic teacher with a master's.

2. The pressure to test has arguably dropped scores. Kids get too nervous and don't learn anything except how to fear tests.

3. Poor leadership is also to blame.

Perfect example--Elon Park Elementary. Their pass rates are pretty low considering their goals.

At Elon Park, the principal has his head in the clouds. He has a lot of ideas, but no idea how to implement them. He also can't retain teachers because he doesn't treat them in a mature matter.

This school also has (or had? Her name isn't listed as such anymore) a literacy facilitator who was ruthless with employees. She was very "my way or the highway" yet her way constantly changed by the day!! The same was true of the math facilitator.

Meanwhile, they're having parades to promote/celebrate the EOG tests and also have a block on the schedule where they don't actually teach--they remediate some kids while others are left to be bored or do mindless work/practice they don't need. There's zero structure, and it's a block of time that could be better suited to special area classes or actually teaching both social studies and science in the same day.

It's apparent a school like this one is on the way down. There are parents pulling their kids from school there; some have opted to go with private schools and others are homeschooling.

I talked to a former teacher from this building, who is extremely happy to be gone because the leadership did not promote student achievement.

My friend in Ballantyne will not be sending her children there and will likely homeschool them.