Polk County Schools students post second-highest performance on state exams

Once again, Polk County Schools students delivered one of the top performances in the state on North Carolina’s end-of-grade and end-of-course exams.

Polk County Schools ranked second among the state’s school districts for student performance on the annual exams in the 2018-19 school year. Across the district, 73.8 percent of all students met grade level proficiency on the state exams. Only Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools, at 75.5 percnt, had a better performance among all public school districts in North Carolina.

Union County Public Schools (73.6), Carteret County Public Schools (72.7) and Elkin City Schools (71.8) rounded out the top five.

“Being one of the highest performing districts in the state is always our goal and we are certainly excited to once again be near the top of the list,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. “We’re very proud of the effort of our students, teachers, schools, and community.

“Our performance reflects the commitment our students and families have to doing well, the hard work of our staff and schools, and the tremendous support we receive from our community. The state rankings and any related recognition are about Polk County as a collective, not just our school district, and should be shared by our entire community.”

Each school’s grade reflects a weighted average of the percentage of students scoring at or above proficient on end-of-course and end-of-grade exams (80 percent) and the percentage of students reaching expected growth levels (20 percent). The percentages are converted to a 100-point scale and corresponding letter grade.

Polk County Schools had the highest composite percentage of students meeting grade level proficiency across all tests of any public school district for fourth grade (78.8%), sixth grade (82.2%) and eighth grade (78.9%). The district’s third graders ranked second, its fifth graders in third.

The district had the best composite percentage among all public school districts when combining grades 3-8 (77.8%). Polk County Schools students also had the best composite percentage among all public school districts in the following areas:

  • Fourth grade Math
  • Eighth grade Math
  • Fourth grade English Language Arts
  • Eighth grade English Language Arts
  • Combined 3-8 English Language Arts

“These results help confirm our schools are providing quality educational experiences for students,” Greene said. “They also remind us of the importance of consistently working to improve and ensure we are addressing the needs of every student.

“There are areas in which we made gains last year, and that makes us proud. There are also areas in which we need to continue to improve and we will be focused on doing just that.”

Other highlights from the data:

  • Polk County Early College earned an A for its performance, one of the few schools in the state to receive the highest mark
  • Polk County Middle exceeded its growth objectives
  • All Polk County elementary schools met their expected objectives

“Polk County is a special place,” Greene said. “We have a community that values education and provides both fiscal and material resources to us so we can do our best for our students.

“I believe programs like preschool and after school, the hiring of additional teachers to reduce class size at all grade levels, and dedicated effort on the part of all our educators to develop and maintain strong relationships with our students and families set us apart.

“It takes a significant amount of additional funding to do these things for students and we are fortunate Polk County sees the importance of providing these extra resources.”

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