High school graduation increasing

Published 9:21 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

More than 87 percent of Davie high school students graduate in four years, according to figures released from the NC Department of Public Instruction last week.

The rate of students who enter high school as ninth graders and graduate four years later rose to 87.3 percent, up from 84.6 percent last year. The graduation rate here is higher than across the state, 85.8 percent, and is the highest of the surrounding counties of Davidson, Forsyth, Iredell-Statesville (excluding Mooresville City), Rowan-Salisbury, and Yadkin.

The five-year cohort graduation rate was 85.9 percent, lower than last year’s rate of 88.8 and also lower than the state rate of 87.5 percent.

Erin Foil, director of testing and accountability, told the Board of Education members at their meeting last week the four-year graduation rate for Davie students has gone up 13.5 percent in the past 10 years.

Students here also outperformed those across the state on the ACT, the test given to juniors to predict college readiness. The highest possible score on the four required sections of the test, English, reading, math, and science, is 36. Davie students’ average composite score was 20.5, up from 19.4 the previous year. The state average score was 19.1.

Nationally, Wisconsin, one of 20 states that administers the ACT, is fourth highest; Davie’s scores are equivalent to Wisconsin, Foil told the board.

Students on the career and technical education paths take the ACT WorkKeys test, and the average score of 87.2 percent earning a silver certificate or higher puts Davie students in third place in the state.

“Graduation from high school is essential, and 87.3 percent of our students graduated in four years or less,” said Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness. “While the cohort graduation rate is important, we are even more pleased that our students’ scores on the ACT placed Davie County Schools in the top nine districts in the North Carolina. This ranking is an indication of how our students are prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education after high school.”

Part of the state’s READY accountability model, growth is measured by the rate students learned in the past year as compared to their peers in the state. The three measures of growth are Exceeded Growth Expectations, Met Growth Expectations, and Did Not Meet Growth Expectations.

Eighty-two percent of Davie schools either met or exceeded growth expectations, compared to 73 percent statewide. Only two schools did not meet growth expectations, Pinebrook Elementary and Davie High. Four schools exceeded growth expectations, Mocksville Elementary, South Davie Middle, William Ellis Middle, and the Early College. The remaining schools met growth expectations.

On end of course and end of grade testing, 63.8 percent of Davie students show grade level proficiency, compared with 58.3 percent statewide. The percentage of Davie students who are college and career ready was 53.6, compared to 48.8 percent statewide. This places Davie in the top 20 districts in the state.

“I am extremely proud of the efforts of our students and staff,” Hartness said. “We are fortunate to have tremendous partnerships with parents and our community. We celebrate our successes but have already focused our efforts on making 2016-17 even better.”

All 2015-16 accountability results are available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability.