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CMS sees improvement in this year's test scores

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is reporting gains in 22 out of 23 areas that students were tested this year. CMS today released its end of year test results in all subjects for grades three through eight and high school. WFAE's Simone Orendain reports: The district composite shows 63 percent of the elementary and middle school students tested were on grade level. That's two percent more than last school year. In high school testing, CMS reports the number of students on grade level increased by more than five percent to about 76 percent. The numbers also showed improvement in the seven struggling elementary schools with new high performing principals. Superintendent Peter Gorman says teachers worked extra hard during this tough time. "We're going through a period of time where people are wondering 'Will I have a job when this year ends? What is my future employment with the district?' Yet folks stayed focused on what was important and that was being able to teach students, also being able to measure student achievement," says Gorman. These results show the achievement gap narrowed between students in poverty and those who aren't, and between students of color and white students. But the narrowing isn't dramatic because students improved across the board. Third through eighth graders are tested in reading, math and science. High school students take tests in 10 subjects. But the five required high school subjects are Algebra 1, Biology, Civics and Economics, English 1 and US History. High school juniors take an additional written composition test, those results were two percent lower than the year before. The bonus structure for CMS teachers is based on student improvement. And this year, Gorman says more teachers than usual would have qualified. But the district has frozen bonuses and salaries as it works to plug a potential $120 million hole.