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Report Cards: Local schools have experience



Article Published: Nov. 5, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Watauga County has more experienced teachers and better end-of-year test scores than the statewide average.

The North Carolina "School Report Cards" for all schools and school districts in North Carolina were released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Thursday, breaking down individual schools in performance, safety, certification and size.

School Report Cards provide a wide range of data about individual schools and school districts, including school enrollment, average class sizes, end-of-grade and end-of-course test results, teacher qualifications, school safety statistics, and instructional resources.

A snapshot summary of School Report Card results will be sent home with students in the Watauga County Schools over the next week and will also be posted on school Web sites. The complete Report Card results for each public school in Watauga County and across the state are available online at http://www.ncreportcards.org.

In addition to the end-of-year test results that were announced at the beginning of the new school year, the report also contains information on attendance, suspensions, acts of crime or violence and teacher-certification levels, as well as each school's number of books per student.

Watauga County has more books per student, 26.2, than the state average, but has fewer computers for each student than the state average. There is one instructional computer for every 2.4 students in the system.

There was one reported act of crime or violence per 100 students in the district, the same as the statewide average.

Among teachers, Watauga has a lower turnover rate, a higher percentage of fully licensed teachers, more years of experience and more teachers per school than the statewide average.

The School Report Cards show that student achievement in the Watauga County system compares favorably with other schools in North Carolina. Every elementary school in the Watauga County Schools scored above the state average in the percentage of students rated proficient in reading and math on end-of-grade tests. For the school system as a whole, 83.9 percent of the system's students in grades 3-8 scored at or above grade level proficiency on the end-of-grade tests in reading compared to 67.6 percent statewide. In math, 91.7 percent of WCS students in grades 3-8 scored at or above grade level proficiency compared to 80.0 percent statewide.

On the science tests administered to fifth and eighth grade students, 83.1 percent of WCS scores were at or above proficiency, well above the state average of 64.2 percent.

For high schools, end-of-course tests in academic subjects are North Carolina's principal measure of student performance. At Watauga High School, 79.0 percent of end-of-course test results were proficient or above compared to 71.4 percent statewide.

Watauga High School students also compare favorably to their statewide peers on SAT scores and the graduation rate. The average Watauga High School SAT score of 1099 (critical reading and mathematics combined) was significantly above the state average of 1006. The high school's graduation rate increased to 74.7 percent while the statewide rate was 71.7 percent.

Two Rivers Community School, the county's only charter school, scored 67.6 percent of students at or above grade level in reading and 80 percent scoring at or above grade level in math. The school reported no acts of crime or violence, with 14 teachers, 71 percent of whom are fully licensed.

A comparison of Watauga County Schools and statewide public schools on key measures is available on the news and data page of the Watauga County Schools Web site at http://www.watauga.k12.nc.us.

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