Friday, August 6, 2010

Cute kids and graduates

It was a treat to be greeted by a crowd of smiling fourth- and fifth-graders at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' news conference on ABC results, held at Thomasboro Elementary. Sometimes we need a reminder that behind all these data dumps are real kids who deserve a bright future. These particular young folks were wrapping up a summer leadership program, designed to help the high-poverty westside school build a better climate for learning and make sure students don't lose academic ground during the summer.

Having said that, there's still more interesting data online as part of the ABC/No Child Left Behind release. I'm especially interested in the graduation rates, which proved something of a shock for CMS in 2009. The Observer will be circling back to that topic in the near future, but the numbers provide some interesting insights.

The main measure is the four-year graduation rate, tallying what percent of the class that enters high school graduates on time four years later. CMS had 9,760 first-time freshmen in 2005-06, with 6,450 of them graduating in 2009, a 66 percent on-time graduation rate.

The state also tracks students who graduate within five years. The new report shows that by 2010, another 385 of those CMS students -- and more than 3,300 students statewide -- had earned a diploma. That pushed CMS's five-year rate to 70 percent, still below the state's five-year average of 75 percent.

This year 70 percent of CMS students and 74 percent of N.C. students got their diplomas in four years. CMS saw gains in grad rates for all groups, but especially significant ones for black and low-income students, who are at special risk for dropping out. However, the Hispanic graduation rate sagged in CMS, and the district remains below state averages for the at-risk groups.

Eighty-five percent of CMS's white students graduated on time in 2010, above the state average of 80 percent for white students and CMS's 2009 rate of 81 percent.

Since Wake/CMS comparisons seem to be the hot topic (look for more on that in the near future, too), I'll note that Wake's overall 2010 four-year rate of 78 percent tops CMS, as do Wake's graduation rates for black and white students. For Hispanic and low-income teens the two megadistricts are tied and below the state average.

Get details on graduation rates for all N.C. schools and districts here.


Anonymous said...

How was this program at Thomasboro funded?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Not sure; didn't really delve into it. My guess would be federal Title I money.

Anonymous said...

Awww. That's great that the kids are a part of a leadership program. Catch them early!

Too bad they were used to be a part of Gorman's propaganda machine.

Two questions Ann: 1) I've looked all over CMS's website to find data on the success rate of students taking the AP and IB exams, but I can't find that data from previous years anywhere. Can you help? 2)The results of the survey that teachers fill out about principals each year is incomplete. Many questions are missing; such as "What grade would you give the district?" "What grade would you give your school?"
How could we get an unedited copy?

Anonymous said...

CMS doesn't post AP/IB scores because they are so pathetic. It's great to increase the number of students enrolled in these courses, but when the students are in over there head and can't pass the tests it becomes another failed effort.

Anonymous said... know Myers Park has EXCELLENT AP scores and participation because Newsweek uses that data to rank schools (as well as IB data)...and as MPHS consistently ranks as one of the top high schools in the nation...

Anonymous said...

For those of who work with students every day, they are not just numbers, they are unique individuals with a wide range of abilities and needs. We have to meet them where they are and work to get them where they need to be. Numbers don't even begin to tell the story.

Anonymous said...

What makes MPHS scores so great? Do they have more qualified teachers or smarter kids?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the Newsweek rankings have anything to do with AP pass rate. I think it's the participation rate--% of kids in the school taking AP classes (this link explains it: This has led to some rather bizarre placements on the list. Several very low scoring high schools in Charlotte outranked Providence on the "best" list, when pass rates at PHS, plus other test results, topped all others in CMS. Apparently quantity, not quality, is the key to the Newsweek "best" list. This is not to say that we shouldn't have access to AP at all high schools. However, let's be honest about the testing results. It will be interesting to see how Myers Park stacks up on the list now that many IB students have been moved to East Meck. And what will then happen to East Meck's ranking?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Man, I have got to get my mad scientists working harder on that cloning project. Several great data questions here, and there is just plain more work that needs to get done before schools start than I have time to do it.

I've always thought the Newsweek list would be perfectly valid if it were labeled "Access to high-level classes," but that wouldn't make for a catchy a cover as "Best high schools."