Davie High graduation rate increases

Published 9:22 am Thursday, September 21, 2017

More than 87 percent of Davie students graduate high school in four years, according to figures received by the State Board of Education as part of the NC READY accountability program.

Results were presented to the Davie Board of Education at their Sept. 12 meeting.

The rate of students who enter high school as ninth graders and graduate four years later remained the same as the previous year, 87.3, but rose at Davie High, where 87.3 percent of students graduated in four years, compared to 86.6 the previous year.

It is the first time in at least three years that Davie’s graduation rate was not higher than the majority, if not all, surrounding counties of Davidson, Forsyth, Iredell-Statesville, Rowan-Salisbury, and Yadkin.

The Early College program is a five-year program, and while some students do graduate in four years, most complete the program in five years. That school’s graduation rate is over 95 percent.

The statewide four-year graduation rate is 86.5.

Some Davie High students take five years to graduate, and that rate was 88.3, almost three points higher than last year and higher than the state average of 87.5.

On the ACT test, the college entrance exam given to all juniors, Davie students averaged 19.5 out of a possible score of 36 on the four required sections of the test, which is higher than the state average of 18.6.

Results for students meeting all four benchmarks, English, reading, math and science, fell one point at Davie High but rose dramatically at the Early College, from a rate of 24.3 to 41.7, and while the rate for students making benchmark with the writing portion included fell almost a full point at Davie High, from 12.6 to 11.5, the rate more than tripled at the Early College, from 10.8 to 33.3.

Early College Principal Denise Absher said students took an ACT prep class the semester before the test and that may have contributed to the higher scores.

In the district and state, more than 95 percent of students met another measure, the completion of Math III.

The percentage of all juniors scoring 17 or better was 68. The benchmark score of 17 is the minimum admissions score for the UNC college system.

Students on the career and technical education paths take the ACT WorkKeys test, and this year, almost 90 percent of students earned a silver certificate or better, the highest percentage ever in the county. Statewide, 73.3 percent of students earned a silver certificate or better. Davie CTE students rank fourth in the state.

Performance among students is reported in two measures, grade level proficiency and college and career ready. Every end of grade and end of course test receives an achievement level from one to five, and a level of three is considered grade level proficient, with a four or higher considered college and career ready.

Both measures increased slightly, with 63.9 percent of students grade level proficient, up from 63.8 last year, and 54.6 percent of students college and career ready, compared to 53.6 percent last year. Small increases in math and reading scores were seen here and across the state.

Decreases in proficiency among third graders in math and reading were seen at most of the county’s six elementary schools, but trends upward were seen in math in grades four, five, six, and seven and in reading in grades five and six.

Systemwide, 63.9 percent of students are grade level proficient, and 54.6 are college and career ready.

Students in all areas and grades tested at the six elementary and three middle schools showed proficiency above the state average.

Another part of the READY model, growth is measured by the rate students learned in the past year as compared to their peers in the state. Five schools, Cooleemee, Cornatzer, North Davie, William Ellis and the Early College, exceeded expected growth, while Mocksville, Pinebrook, Shady Grove and William R. Davie met expected growth. Two schools, South Davie and Davie, did not meet expected growth.

The percentage of schools that met or exceeded growth was the same as last year, but the percentage of those that exceeded growth increased from 36 to 46 percent. The percentage of schools in the county that met or exceeded growth was more than nine percent higher than the state average.

Schools are also given a performance letter grade, and 100 percent of Davie schools earned a C or higher, compared to 77 percent in the state. One school, the Early College, earned an A, four, Cornatzer, Shady Grove, North Davie, and William Ellis, earned a B, and the remaining six were given a C. Seven schools saw an improvement in scores.

Central Davie Academy is evaluated under an accountability model for alternative schools, and they received a rating of “maintaining.”

Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness said while he is pleased the county remains well above the state in test scores, there is room for improvement.

“We recognize the accountability results reported each year are only a snapshot of one day out of 180, and there are so many things our teachers are accomplishing with students that can never be measured by a standardized assessment,” he said. “We are proud of the academic progress as measured by state tests, but we have plenty of room for improvement. Regardless of where they start, we want our students to grow academically every school year, and we will continue to partner with our community to make our public schools a national model.”