According to the school accountability data released Thursday to the State Board of Education, Johnston County Schools had 81 percent of schools earning grades of C or better in the state’s A-F grading system; 6% over the state average.
Dr. Ross Renfrow stated, “As Superintendent I am proud of the efforts of our students, parents and teachers that led to the 6% increase over the state average. I feel like things are heading in the right direction for Johnston County Public Schools.”
School grades are based primarily on overall proficiency rates on the state’s standardized end-of-grade tests, and to a lesser extent, the growth students make during the year, irrespective of performance level. Eighty percent of the grade is for the percentage of tests earning a score considered grade-level proficient; Twenty percent is for growth, measured by a statistical model that compares each student’s predicted test score, based on past performance, against his or her actual result.
Elementary and middle schools’ performance grades are based only on test scores in reading and math (grades 3-8) and in science (grades 5 and 8). High school grades are based on results from end-of-course exams in English II and Math I in addition to Biology and include other performance indicators as well. The other indicators are the percentage of 11th graders meeting the UNC System’s minimum admission requirement of a composite score of 17 on the ACT college readiness exam, the cohort graduation rate, the percentage of students taking and passing Math III and the percentage of graduates who are Career and Technical Education concentrators who earn a Silver Certificate or higher on the ACT WorkKeys assessment. Growth is included for all grades unless it hurts the grade overall.
31 percent of the schools in Johnston County achieved As and Bs. No schools received the rating of an F for the 2015-2016 school year. Three schools moved from a C rating to a B rating, four schools moved from a D rating to a C rating and one school moved from an F to a D. In terms of growth achieved by JCS schools this past year, 30 percent exceeded expected growth and 42 percent of schools met their expected growth.
The four-year high school cohort graduation rate for JCS, which factors into the letter grades for high schools, continued its upward trend, going up 1.4 percent to 90.1 which is above the state average of 85.8 percent. The five-year graduation rate is also up for Johnston County Schools by 2 percent, resulting in 90.6 percent which is above the state average of 87.5 percent.
In terms of achievement, the overall performance composite for JCS is one point above the state as a result of being above the state performance average for EOG Reading (Grades 3-8), EOG Science, Math I, Biology, and English II.
Other indicators of College and Career Readiness include the ACT and ACT WorkKeys Assessments. The 11th grade administration of the ACT resulted in 64.3 percent of Johnston County students obtaining a composite score of 17 or higher which is higher than the state at 59.9 percent. The state average was 73.5 percent for WorkKeys and Johnston County students scored 80.6 percent.
“I still feel the accountability model is flawed by the emphasis on proficiency instead of growth. A truer indication of student success would be measured if the model utilized 80% growth and 20% proficiency,” stated Dr. Renfrow. “I applaud the principals and the leadership they provide at each school for the work they do. Being a school principal is a challenging job but I can say it was the most satisfying job I had because as principal you are there each day working with the students and teachers to achieve success. Their leadership is truly appreciated.”