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Testing in North Carolina: An Overview

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By GreatSchools Staff

How are the ABCs designations calculated?

For elementary and middle schools, designations are based on student performance on the End-of-Grade reading and math tests in grades 3 through 8, writing tests in grades 4 and 7, and the Computer Skills Test in grade 8. Alternate assessments and End-of-Course results are also included. For high schools, student performance on End-of-Course tests, the drop-out rate and the change in the percentage of students completing college prep courses of study are included, along with alternate assessments. For all schools, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is also factored in the final designation. The designations are defined as follows:

  • High Growth: An elementary or middle school which achieves 10 percent above its expected growth goal or a high school which achieves 3 percent above its expected growth goal in selected courses.
  • Expected Growth: School achieves its expected growth goal.
  • Honor School of Excellence: At least 90 percent of student scores are at or above grade level, the school makes or exceeds its expected growth goal and the school made AYP.
  • School of Excellence: At least 90 percent of student scores are at or above grade level and the school makes or exceeds its expected growth goal, but the school did not make AYP.
  • School of Distinction: 80-89 percent of student scores are at or above grade level and school makes or exceeds its expected growth goal.
  • School of Progress: 60-79 percent of student scores are at or above grade level and the school makes or exceeds its expected growth goal.
  • No Recognition: School fails to reach its expected growth goals but has at least 60 percent of its students performing at or above grade level.
  • Priority School: Less than 60 percent of student scores are at or above grade level and school is not identified as Low-Performing.
  • Low-Performing: School fails to reach its expected growth goal and has significantly less than 50 percent of its students performing at or above grade level.

Why do the ABCs designations matter?

Certified staff members and teaching assistants at schools receiving High Growth or Expected Growth designations receive monetary incentive awards. Schools that receive a designation of Low Performing receive customized support from the state designed to help them improve their performance. Low Performing schools are required to notify parents of their designation in writing.

What if my child attends a Low-Performing school?

If your child attends a school that is designated Low-Performing, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. Because these schools are likely to face additional consequences under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, your child may be eligible to receive federal and/or state money for tutoring or to transfer to another school.

Why do some schools not have ABCs designations?

K-2 schools, vocational, career and technical centers, special education schools and hospital schools do not receive ABC designations, though they may receive prorated incentive awards based on the ABCs designation of the regular schools they serve.

Search for North Carolina Schools.

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