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Elizabethtown, NC—The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) is asking for public input on restructuring the model for measuring school quality. On the heels of recently released data and school grades—the first time since before the COVID-19 Pandemic—there is a renewed interest across the state to review and update the current model.

Under the current state law, school grades are based on an 80/20 model. 80% of the score is based on student test scores and 20% on academic growth. Catherine Truitt, NC State Superintendent, says, and the vast majority of educators agree, the current model overemphasizes student test scores while not accounting for the other ways schools are preparing students for post-secondary success.

While test scores provide valuable data, they only give a mere snapshot of the learning and growth that is taking place in our classrooms day in and day out.

One potential model revision looks at moving to a 50/50 plan—placing equal emphasis on test scores and academic growth. Utilizing a 50/50 model, all Bladen County Schools’ school grades would see a significant increase. Five schools would actually “move up” a letter grade, while other schools would see an increase anywhere from 5 to 12 points in their numeric grade— bringing them closer to a higher performance grade.

Our schools have incredible educators that work tirelessly day in and day out to ensure our students are learning, says Dr. Jason Atkinson, Bladen County Schools Superintendent. The current school grade model places such a high emphasis on test scores and does not adequately show the academic growth happening in our classrooms. A revised model would provide a more accurate picture of the learning that’s taking place.

The public is asked to complete NC DPI’s survey by 5 p.m. Monday, October 10, 2022. Once the survey closes, the results will be shared publicly by NC DPI, and work will begin at the state level to redefine the list of potential indicators.

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