GCS Year-End Tests Show Increase in Student Proficiency

Approximately one year ago, students and staff at Montlieu Elementary Academy of Technology were receiving word that, thanks to significant local funding, they would receive iPads and other advanced devices to enhance their ability to teach and learn. Now, Montlieu is taking pride in an increase of 12.8 percentage points on its End-of-Grade testing. The Guilford County Schools (GCS) technology prototype school jumped from 59.3 percent proficient in 2011 to 72.1 percent proficient based on preliminary annual test results.

Overall, GCS saw a rise in its EOG and EOC composites scores to 75.9 percent proficient, an increase of 1.4 percentage points from last year's rate of 74.5 percent. Nineteen schools had a performance composite of more than 90 percent proficient, with two - The Early College at Guilford and The Middle College at GTCC-Greensboro - reaching 100 percent proficiency. Seven of the 19 were between 95 and 99 percent proficient: Brown Summit Middle, Weaver Academy, The Middle College at GTCC-High Point, Northern High, Oak Ridge Elementary, Northwest High and The Academy at Smith. Last year, 14 schools had a performance composite above 90.

The Middle College at N.C. A&T, Northwest Middle, The Middle College at GTCC-Jamestown, Kernodle Middle, Southwest Elementary, Summerfield Elementary, The Middle College at Bennett, Brooks Global Studies, Stokesdale Elementary and The Middle College at UNCG all had proficiency scores between 91 and 94 percent.

Twenty-three schools made gains of more than 5 percentage points, including Montlieu. Wiley Elementary showed marked improvement, climbing 18.7 percentage points from 52.0 percent to 70.7 percent proficient. Three more schools grew by more than 10 points: Western High, from 69.7 percent proficient to 81.4 percent; The Middle College at GTCC-High Point, from 84.8 to 96.2; and The Middle College at N.C. A&T, from 83.7 to 93.8.

The scores at Montlieu and Wiley demonstrate that an influx of resources, both financial and community-based, has helped spur academic performance. Last year, Montlieu became the district's technology prototype school, receiving a donation of $250,000 per year for three years from High Point University, The William B. Millis Fund of the High Point Community Foundation, Businesses for Excellence in Education and the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation to provide students and staff with iPads and other technology devices.

Wiley is in its first year of a federal School Improvement Grant, which provided the school with an additional $2.4 million and also extended the calendar year and the school day. Andrews High and Oak Hill Elementary, which are also receiving School Improvement Grant funds, performed well, with composite gains of 6.8 and 5.0 percentage points, respectively.

Montlieu, Wiley and Oak Hill have made significant gains in the last four years. Each of these schools had performance composites below 40 percent proficiency in 2008, which would have placed them among the lowest in the state. All three now have performance composites of 70 percent proficiency or above based on the preliminary data. Andrews has gone from 44.3 percent to 64.6 percent proficiency in that same time frame. 

"These results indicate that when our community embraces our schools, the way it has with Wiley, Montlieu, Oak Hill and Andrews, our students reap the benefits of that generosity," says Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green. "I applaud the efforts of our staff and administration, and it's especially rewarding to see the success that comes when the public makes a personal investment in our students' future."

Scores also improved measurably at schools that were already high-achieving, such as Northern High, which jumped from 92.4 to 95.4 percent proficiency. "Our principals have done a great job at all levels to raise the bar of excellence," said Green.

Of the 113 schools with test data, 47 showed composite scores of more than 80 percent proficient; 99 were more than 60 percent proficient and 111 were more than 50 percent proficient.

EOG scores were up 0.5 points from 2011 to 74.4 percent proficient. EOC scores showed even greater gains, up 4.3 points to 79.5 percent proficient.

Green acknowledged the need to grow EOG reading scores, which dipped slightly by 0.3 points to 68.1 percent proficient. Math scores were up slightly by 0.3 points, to 82 percent proficient, and science scores jumped 2.8 points to 70.9 percent proficient.

"I am proud of the progress we've made, but we must continue to focus on reading," said Green. "Among other initiatives, the Common Core curriculum that begins this upcoming school year, the African-American Male Literacy Initiative  and our Three Million Books campaign are helping strengthen our students' reading skills. As the district completes one strategic plan and prepares to begin another, literacy is an area that we will continue to develop."

EOG tests are given in reading and math to students in third through eighth grades, and in science to students in fifth and eighth grades. EOC tests are given in Algebra I, English I and Biology. The State Board of Education will release official scores in August 2012.