We hope you liked the weekend feature on fixing the achievement gap. (Be sure to click on 'Related Content' on the right to see the responses).
Durham Public Schools released its first ever "State of the System" performance report earlier this month at a committee meeting. The school board adopted a policy in April to create a summary of the system's work in meeting target goals like testing, attendance, graduation and teacher satisfaction.
"There's a lot to celebrate," said superintendent Carl Harris at the committee meeting. "Another good thing about this report is that we recognize that there is much work to be done."
Out of 15 goals this year, the district met or exceeded seven: test scores for third, fifth and eighth graders, percent of schools meeting federal adequate yearly progress goals, percentage of students considered academically and intellectually gifted and vocational test performance.
The district missed six goals. Overall test score composites, graduation rates and Advanced Placement participation increased between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 but the district did not meet their self-imposed goal. Attendance, SAT scores, and teacher working conditions survey results declined between the two school years.
The data from two other measures, a survey from parents and a survey from students, had not yet been released.
The report will be reviewed by the board again at its Sept. 24 meeting.
- Achievement gaps between white and black students and between white and Hispanic students shrunk over the last year even as all groups increased proficiency in math and
reading exams in grades 3-8
- A teacher working conditions survey, which measures leadership, professional development, time and having a sense of empowerment, saw a slight decline. On a scale of 1-5, the survey average dropped from 3.34 to 3.30
- Suspensions dropped in middle school but rose in high school
- In grades 3-8, the highest overall score was in grade 5 math, which had 71 percent of students proficient on end-of-grade exams.
- Fewer than half of third and eighth-graders read at grade level