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Macon County Board of Education presented with School Report Cards

During the March meeting of the Macon County Board of Education, Macon County Schools CTE Director Colleen Strickland presented the board with details regarding the district’s testing and accountability data for the 2022-2023 school year that was released in September.

The data released by the North Carolina Department of Instruction provided “report cards” for each school within Macon County. Each school was assigned a letter grade as well as a category identifying whether or not the school met expectations set since the last report was released. Every district and charter school receives an A-F letter grade based 80 percent on the school’s achievement score (calculated using a composite method based on the sum of points earned by a school on all of the indicators measured for that school), and 20 percent on students’ academic growth (compares the actual performance of the school’s students to their expected performance based on a statewide statistical model). The letter grades are computed on a 15-point scale (85-100=A; 70-84=B; etc.).

No schools in Macon County earned an “A” grade and just two, Highlands and Macon Early College, received a B. For Highlands, that is a grade higher than the previous year when the school received a “C” and for MEC, this year’s “B” is a letter grade below the “A” that was earned last year.

According to NC State Superintendent Catherine Truitt the grading system isn’t an accurate depiction of student achievement, “The A-F school performance grades that schools received for 2021-22 and in 2022-23 were affected by the formula used to determine those grades because student performance on the state tests far outweighs the credit schools earn for the progress students make on the same tests from one year to the next. Eighty percent of the grade is for the percentage of tests earning a score of at least grade-level proficient; 20 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.”

The current grades of NC Schools are attributed to learning loss caused by the COVID19 pandemic, with the NCDPI stating that schools continue to deal with student learning loss, although some improvements were reported.

Cartoogechaye Elementary, East Franklin Elementary, Franklin High School, Iotla Valley Elementary, Macon Middle School, and South Macon Elementary each earned a “C” on the state report card this year while Mountain View Intermediate School and Nantahala School both received a “D” grade. The district’s virtual school, Macon Virtual Academy, received an “F” grade for the second year in a row. With the exception of Franklin High School who went from a “B” last year to a “C” this year and Iotla Valley School which improved from a “D” to a “C,” the other 4 schools to earn a “C” grade received the same letter grade last year.

The annual report cards also includes information regarding performance grown within each school and according to Strickland, around 70% of schools in North Carolina were identified as “meeting growth” expectations. A school’s growth score is an indication of the progress students have made over the previous year. North Carolina uses EVASS, a value-added growth model, to produce a composite index growth value for each school. The standard expectation is roughly equivalent to a year’s worth of expected growth. If a school does not have a growth score, only the school achievement score is used to calculate the school performance grade. In addition to contributing 20% to the overall school performance grade, the school growth score is assigned a label to indicate the degree to which a school’s growth has met expectations based on previous and expected performance. These labels are Exceeded Growth, Met Growth, and Growth Not Met.

For Macon County, no schools were identified as “exceeded growth” and 8 out of 10 schools in the district were labeled as “met growth,” an improvement to the 7 out of 10 schools the year prior. According to the report, neither Mountain View Intermediate or Nantahala met growth expectations.


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