Making The Grade

The end of the school year always brings some uncertainty for  public schools in North Carolina as they await their school letter grades.

Every year, they anxiously await the assessment as lawmakers in Raleigh grapple with the grading system, which has never quite worked as planned.

In this three-part series, "Making the Grade," WFAE correspondent Ann Doss Helms examines the challenges of the grading system used for North Carolina's public schools.

standardized test
albertogp123 / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/2.0/

North Carolina will release its A-to-F school letter grades Wednesday  – and they’ll be calculated the same way they were last year. That’s despite widespread, bipartisan concerns that the state’s formula unfairly penalizes high-poverty schools. 

It's been a stressful time for a lot of North Carolina students this week as they finished taking their end-of-year tests. It's also stressful for teachers and school administrators because how kids do on these tests determine the A to F grades given to schools. There's a lot of outcry that the current school grading system is unfair. But lawmakers have been unable to settle on a new system. 

In Part 1 of "Making the Grade," we looked at the imperfect system used to assign letter grades to North Carolina schools. In Part 2, we examined "growth scores," which are seen by some as a better way of evaluating schools and teacher quality. In this article, we look at how CMS aims to close opportunity and achievement gaps that are reflected in the grades given to schools.

In Part 1 of "Making the Grade," we looked at the imperfect system used to assign letter grades to North Carolina schools. In Part 2, we examine "growth scores," which are seen by some as a better way of evaluating schools and teacher quality.

The school year is almost over, but there's uncertainty hanging over every public school in North Carolina. School letter grades, which influence where parents buy homes or send their kids to school, are on the minds of educators as lawmakers in Raleigh grapple with a grading system that has never quite worked as planned.