It could be an academic bloodbath this year for schools in Wake and statewide.
As noted in today's article by Lynn Bonner, passing rates on the state's end-of-grade reading exams plummeted this year due to new tests and higher standards. While Wake should still do better than the rest of the state, scores will still tumble.
You can expect far fewer Wake schools to be named Schools of Excellence or Schools of Distinction. You'll also probably see even more Wake schools fall short under No Child Left Behind.
Past history shows a decline to be all but certain.
Just look at 2005, the last year before the math EOG exams were toughened up. That year, Wake had 61 Schools of Excellence and 43 Schools of Distinction.
You get to be a School of Excellence if 90 percent or more of the test scores are passing and students show academic growth. School of Distinction is for those who showed growth and had passing rates of between 80 and 90 percent.
Once the new math exams were factored in for elementary and middle schools, Wake was down to 11 Schools of Excellence and 48 Schools of Distinction in 2006.
In 2007, Wake still had 11 Schools of Excellence. But the number of Schools of Distinction was up to 58.
Wake shouldn't come close to reaching those levels in this year's ABCs of Education results. The school-by-school and districtwide results will be released by the State Board of Education on Nov. 1.
With statewide reading passing rates ranging as low as 52 percent in seventh-grade and only as high as 61 percent in fourth- and seventh-grades, Nov. 1 won't be a pretty day for the state's public schools.
(Due to the new reading EOGs, be cautious about trying to link year-round conversion with any decline in passing rates.)
Wake school officials say they don't expect any additional Title I schools to be required to provide transfer choices due to the reading scores. But a lot more schools will not meet NCLB standards. It was already down to 24 percent, based just on math. How much lower will it go?