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NC, CMS See Another Year Of Small Gains In Test Scores

elementary school students
These students at Beverly Woods Elementary read together in a small group. Beverly Woods Elementary's test scores helped moved it from a "B" to "A+" school.

North Carolina schools got their report cards Thursday, and for the most part, state standardized test scores are up slightly. That's true in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools as well.


  Across the state, test scores increased in most grades and subjects last year. The biggest gains came in math scores. Altogether, 58 percent of students made passing grades. That's up 1.8 percent from the year before.

State school board member Eric Davis of Charlotte applauded what he called "steady progress."    

"It's the steady work of every one of our teachers, every frontline principal, every district superintendent that's getting the job done with support from parents," Davis said.

That small, but steady increase describes CMS's scores over the past few years, too.  Last year, 61.2 percent of students made passing grades on state tests, up from 59.4 percent the previous year. There were 52.8 percent of students making higher grades that designated them as college-and-career ready, up from 50.5 percent the previous year. That rate was higher in all subjects, except for high school English.

CMS Superintendent Ann Clark said that's reason to celebrate. 

"It's going in the right direction, except for English II, but it's clear we need to push harder and harder because we don't have enough students at grade-level yet," Clark said.    

The performance gap between white and African American and Latino students has narrowed over the past few years in CMS and across the state. Still nearly a third of CMS schools have less than half of students making passing grades.

Gaston County Schools test scores jumped from 50.4 percent to 52.9 percent of students making the grade. Cabarrus County Schools also increased from 60.8 to 61.9 percent. Union County's pass rate decreased slightly from 72.1 to 71 percent.  

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.