Carrboro High receives its own report card

, , Leave a comment

Many students are familiar with the concept of report cards, as they get their own every year. But what most don’t know is that — just like students — schools get report cards too.

North Carolina School Report Cards (SRCs) aren’t too different from those given to students: they give informa- tion on the characteristics of a school, from standardized testing data to stu- dent proficiency to academic growth.

“Most of it is based on EOG testing for high school, four-year graduation rate and ACT test scores; it also just tells us things like teacher qualifications, teacher turnover rate and teachers with advanced degrees. It talks about discipline, criminal acts; it’s really pretty vast in that it holds a lot of information,” said Beverly Rudolph, CHS principal.

For Rudolph, the School Report Card is a concise summary of data to review. However, the SRCs are most useful for parents, community members, and administrators. They can look at the information to see where schools are progressing and how they can improve.

“Several parents use this when determining whether they’re going to move to school areas that are better or worse, helps out of state or different part of state, comparing schools and school districts,” said Tomeka Ward-Satter field, one of the CHS assistant principals and school testing coordinator.

School data is tracked on the SRCs which can be found online, and the school is given an overall letter grade based on their statistics. Grades range from A+NG, A, B, C, D, or F. A-ranked schools lie with- in the 85-100 range; to receive an A+NG score, a school must also have no signif- icant achievement or graduation gaps. For the 2016-17 school year, CHS received an “A” score, or an 86 percent. In comparison, Chapel Hill High School (CHHS) has a B, or an 84 per- cent, while East Chapel Hill High School (ECHHS) has an A+NG score, or an 89 percent. While on the surface that would seem to create a clear hierarchy in the three CHCCS high schools, a deeper look at the data reveals more.

ECHHS has just 18.7 percent of students living in economic disadvantage, while CHHS has 21.8 percent and CHS has 24.1 percent. Beyond the economic makeup of the schools’ students, the three high schools differ greatly in the makeup of their teachers. CHS employs only seven National Board Certified teachers, versus CHHS’s 21 and ECHHS’s 26. While East and Chapel Hill have more students than Carrboro, this disparity is still sizable. A more notable trend, though, is seen in how ECHHS teachers outpace CHHS ones. While CHHS’s student population is about 120 students larger than ECHHS’s, East has 12 percent more teachers with advanced degrees, five more with National Board certification and six percent more fully-licensed teachers. While East has ten less total teachers than Chapel Hill, the quality of teachers — at least by the metrics shown on these SRCs — seems to be higher at East.

One could ask, then, whether this disparity in teacher quality derives from the economic makeup of CHCCS’s two largest schools; could the wealthier nature of East students in any way relate to the school’s higher quality of teaching?

However, SRC grades don’t measure everything. While the information and statistics are useful for assessment, other aspects of a school — such as spirit, student involvement, creativity and environment — don’t show up simply because they can’t be tested.

“When you look at this report card, it’s highly based on test scores, and test scores alone are not an indication of how well a school is doing. It can really paint a picture of a school that’s not accurate; a school that’s working really hard and improving their students; it doesn’t necessarily show that,” said Rudolph.

These SRCs are important tools for teachers, administrators and parents, and with CHS’s most recent grade it’s clear that there’s still room to grow. Achieving the A+NG grade is something that the CHCCS district as a whole is pushing hard for, and for good reason: CHCCS is the sec- ond-most unequal district in the US in terms of race-based achievement gap.

For the moment, though, both Rudolph and Ward-Satterfield say that they will use the information from Carrboro High’s School Report Card to improve their own school as best they can. Their primary focus is on raising test grades, especially in relation to the achievement gap.

Photo courtesy NCReportCards.com