Moore County Schools makes headway in returning to pre-pandemic learning levels

RALEIGH — Moore County Public Schools (MCS) appears to be making headway in returning to pre-pandemic student achievement and school performance ratings.

MCS reported on the district’s testing and school grades for the 2022-23 school year following the Sept. 6 release of testing accountability and school performance data by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

According to MCS, the district outperformed the state of North Carolina in all 18 tested areas. Like most of the districts in the state, MCS proficiency levels increased across all testing subject areas with a few exceptions.

“Prior to the pandemic, in 2018-2019, our overall composite score was 61.1. In the first year after the pandemic, 2020-2021, our proficiency had dropped 9.2 percentage points to 51.9. This year, our data shows we’ve almost fully recovered from the pandemic with current proficiency at 60.3,” Deputy Superintendent Mike Metcalf said in a press release. “In addition, we continue to exceed the state proficiency. It is clear that the work of our teachers and staff are moving us in a very positive direction.”

Grade Level Proficiency (GLP) rose 3.7 percentage points from 56.6 in 2021-2022 to 60.3 in 2022-2023. The statewide GLP last school year was 53.6%.

Schools in North Carolina are given A-F grades each year using a formula that includes a combination of student performance on testing and the credit a school earns for student progress year over year.

The grade designations for schools are set on a 15-point scale: A = 85–100, B = 70–84, C = 55–69, D = 40–54, F = 39 or Less.

Of MCS’s 22 schools, Only Pinehurst Elementary received an A.

Six received a B, including Highfalls Elementary, McDeeds Creek Elementary, Pinecrest High, Sandhills Farm Life Elementary, West End Elementary, and West Pine Middle.
The 11 schools getting a C include Cameron Elementary, Carthage Elementary, Connect! Virtual Academy, New Century Middle, North Moore High, Southern Middle, Southern Pines Elementary, Union Pines High, Vass-Lakeview Elementary, West Pine Elementary, and Westmoore Elementary

The remainder, Aberdeen Elementary, Crain’s Creek Middle, Elise Middle, and Robbins Elementary, all received a D.

No schools earned an F grade, and nine schools were noted to have improved by one letter grade. The previous school year, two schools had been given an F.

“We could not be more proud of the work of our entire employee team and the growth of each of our students. For the first time in our district’s history, we have an A school, and overall, we continue to demonstrate improvement in both growth and proficiency,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tim Locklair said. “Additionally, we no longer have any “F” schools. Our focused efforts will continue, but we are very happy with the progress and excited about our continued growth this school year.”

Schools that were found to have met or exceeded growth increased by two over the previous school year to 16. 

The four-year high school cohort graduation rate for the class of 2023 was 91.8%. The state average is 86.4%. MCS’ rate has been above 91% since the 2018-19 school year.

Small improvement was seen for 11th graders taking the ACT, a test measuring English, math, reading and science. The percentage of students who had a composite score benchmark of at least 19, the target number required by the UNC System, rose slightly to 46.4%. Statewide, the percentage was 41.1%.

By A.P. Dillon

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