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June 19, 2003, Extra Credit
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June 19, 2003
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Test Scores Are Up in North Carolina
School Principal Says "No Child Left Behind Was a Major Factor"

The Charlotte News & Observer reported on Wednesday that "school districts in North Carolina are reporting sharp increases in performance on tests of reading and math given this spring to students in third through eighth grades. Elementary grades show the biggest improvements."

Following are excerpts from the article:

"In some systems, including Durham and Johnston, gains at some grade levels and subjects this year are greater than in the preceding six years combined."

"Education leaders see a clear link between the jump in test scores and the federal mandate to push schools to look past their overall score averages to the performance of their lowest-scoring students. 'Schools are really buckling down under the pressure of No Child Left Behind,' said Lou Fabrizio, accountability chief for the state Department of Public Instruction."

"Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the state's largest school system, released data this month showing increases in every grade level in both reading and math. In third grade, the percentage of students passing the state's math test soared by an eye-opening 12 points, from 76 percent to 88 percent, the biggest gain of any grade level in that district."

"Yet, in addition to robust increases in overall passing rates, school systems that have issued preliminary data also are reporting significant headway in narrowing achievement gaps between white and minority students. In Johnston County, for example, the passing rate on math tests among black students, grades three through eight, narrowed from 17 points below white students in 2002 to 11.8 points this year. Among Hispanic students, the gap with white students closed from 10.5 points to 4.5 points."

"Tandra Batchelor-Mapp, principal of Glendale-Kenly Elementary School in Johnston County, said her school stepped up efforts to encourage parent participation while requiring more extra help and tutoring for struggling students. 'No Child Left Behind was a major factor,' Batchelor-Mapp said. 'We want our students and parents to be proud of our school.'"

"'As you put in accountability, people pay more attention to what the expectations are,' said Susan Agruso, assistant superintendent for instructional accountability for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. 'You're seeing a lot of things coming together and paying off for kids.'"

This article is no longer available online.

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

If you would like the NCLB Extra Credit emailed to you, please send a request to Geoff Goodman at NoChildLeftBehindUpdate@ed.gov or call (202) 205-9191.

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Last Modified: 08/30/2004