County schools show improvement in grade

By: Scott Witten -

LAURINBURG — The graduation rate for Scotland County Schools continued to climb for the 2016-17 school year, according to a state Department of Public Instruction report released this week.

The 4-year cohort rate for the Scotland district is at an all-time high of 82.8 percent. North Carolina’s public schools have set a record graduation rate for a 12th consecutive year, according to the DPI.

In the same report, NCDPI released the 2016-17 accountability scores for the state’s 115 school districts and charter schools to the State Board of Education on Thursday.

This was the state’s fourth year at grading schools on an A to F scale.

The Scotland Early College High School was the only school in the county to receive an A.

Laurel Hill Elementary School received a B. Last year, South Scotland Elementary, also received a B, but received a C in this year’s report.

The elementary and middle schools grades were: Carver Middle, C; Covington Street; C, I.E Johnson, C; North Laurinburg, D; South Scotland, C; Spring Hill Middle, C; Sycamore Lane Middle, D; and Wagram Elementary, D.

Scotland High School received a C.

Local school officials said they planned to comment on the report next week.

Statewide, the number of A or B rated schools, now 35.8 percent, to have increased over the 2015-16 school year. Scores also reveal the percentage of D and F schools, 22.6 percent, to be down from the previous year.

However, school grades continue to correlate strongly with the poverty levels of schools, school officials say. Among all schools in 2016-17 that received a D or F, 92.9 percent had enrollments with at least 50 percent of students from low-income families. Conversely, among schools that received at least a B, 72.5 percent had enrollments with less than 50 percent of students from low-income families.

School Performance Grades are based 80 percent on the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth. The only exception is if a school meets expected growth but the inclusion of the school’s growth reduces the school’s performance score and grade.

The school performance grade is a cumulative grade that encompasses a school’s math and reading test scores while also assessing how much a school has grown and if it met expectations established for it before the school year began. DPI releases the grades, along with graduates rates, annually.

According to the DPI, a majority, 56.5 percent, of the state’s high schools earned a grade of B or better. When evaluated for growth, elementary schools were more likely to meet growth than middle or high schools.

Elementary and middle schools’ performance grades are based on test scores alone, while high school grades are based on test results, graduation rates, and indicators of students’ readiness for college or a career.

Scott Witten

Scott Witten can be reached at 910-506-3023

Scott Witten can be reached at 910-506-3023