Latest school performance grades released, high-poverty schools receive lowest grades

The State Board of Education released the second annual school performance report cards Wednesday showing that over 72 percent  of the state’s traditional public schools earned a letter grade of “C” or better.

The A-F grading scale is based 80 percent on the school’s achievement score and 20 percent on students’ academic growth.

Almost 28 percent of the schools received a D or F on the latest report card, though it’s worth noting that those are schools where more than 50 percent of the students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We know that students who come from poor circumstances often make significant academic growth each year, but they often begin school behind their more affluent peers and have many obstacles to overcome,” explained State Superintendent Atkinson. “Many of our children living in poverty do not have access to preschool education – a well-researched strategy for improving student achievement.”

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey believes the letter grades “provide a springboard” for parents to learn more about a schools’ performance in reading, math and science.

Critics of the A-F school letter grades contend they simply show where poor children go to school without providing a deeper understanding of how well schools are educating students.

Here’s a snapshot of how all schools performed:

Performance grades for all schools

Source: NCDPI


The new data from the state Department of Public Instruction also shows a clear correlation between D and F schools and the level of poor and disadvantaged students attending those schools:

Grade Shools Povery Percentages

Source: NCDPI

How did your child’s school fare? Click here to find out.


  1. LayintheSmakDown

    September 2, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    You forgot to mention that charter schools meant to serve this very population do very well in comparison.

  2. OhPlease

    September 2, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Although charter schools are MEANT to serve this population they subsequently most often serve high achieving students from families with substantial incomes, leading to those high scores. Charters don’t provide transportation and most don’t offer lunch. How many poor students truly have access to these schools?

  3. George Zeller

    September 2, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    NC voters reap what they sow. The same weed seeds that ran and won in 2012, ran and won in 2014. Will 2016 be any different?

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    September 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I posted this elsewhere, but probably should be here instead. Who would have thought a progressive narrative was wrong.

    Looking at the graph, schools in the bottom left quadrant are those that have a low percentage of disadvantaged students and negative growth. Schools in the top right are high percentage of disadvantaged and high growth. You will note that both of those quadrants look very similar contrary to the progresso narrative. When you look at the plot there is actually a bias to disadvantaged socioeconomic achieving high growth.

  5. PickingUpAndReturningAWeakSmackdown

    September 3, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Performance =/= growth
    The state said they were going to grade schools based on growth, but when they saw that the schools they wanted to get A’s did poorly they decided to make most of the grade determined by proficiency. So you are kind of right. If schools were graded on growth there would be a lot more poor schools with A’s. That doesn’t disprove the fact that all the this barrage of testing shows is that poorer students perform worse on these standardized tests. With that in mind, is it really a fair tool to evaluate the value of a school district?

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    September 3, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    That makes little sense. All schools are graded on the same basis, the articles on this site are using similar data. I have to keep my replies short per Rob, so I cannot provide the links you may need, just peruse the SAS site a bit more and you may find what you need.

  7. Laura

    September 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Data schmata. Any teacher in a high poverty school knows the obvious answers. Lack of reading skills caused by lack of reading in the home, like of basic life skills (no internal motivation, ability to focus, poor organizational skills, ability to delay gratification, learned helplessness…). All those obvious observations are all the things schools can’t fix. Until we tackle the real problems…poor parenting and poverty…we will keep banging out heads against the wall.

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