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Cumberland students’ proficiency shows slight gains for 2022-23

State releases testing results showing gains after pandemic declines


Cumberland County students' overall academic proficiency showed a slight increase in the 2022-23 school year, according to state test results released Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Overall district proficiency increased from 47.3% in 2021-22 to 49.3% last school year, during what Cumberland County Schools officials called “Year 2” of recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning nationwide beginning in the spring of 2020.

The proficiency score means that just under half of all Cumberland County Schools students are meeting expectations for their grade level on average. 

"Despite the challenges, this level of growth affirms the hard work that is taking place in our classrooms,” Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr. said in a statement.

Statewide, just more than seven out of every 10 schools achieved or exceeded goals for academic growth; nearly two-thirds earned a “C” letter grade or better. According to DPI, 80% of the letter grade is for the percentage of tests earning a score of at least grade-level proficient; 20% is for growth, measured by a statistical model that compares each student’s predicted test score, based on past performance, against their actual result. 

Scores are still below pre-COVID indicators, but officials statewide lauded across-the-board improvements in reading, math, science and English.

In addition to proficiency scores, the 2022-23 state data sets also show graduation rates, identify low-performing schools and grade schools on overall performance.

In Cumberland County

Among the key results for Cumberland County’s public schools:

  • 72% of CCS schools that participated in end-of-grade or end-of-course assessments saw gains in scores from the previous year. 
  • 84.2% of district schools met or exceeded student growth, measured as the amount of academic progress students make during a class.
  • Four schools received an “A” overall performance grade, the same number as last year; 61% of schools received a letter grade of “C” or better. 
  • 30 schools received a “D” letter grade, down from 33 last year, while just one — Ferguson-Easley Elementary — received an “F,” down from four the previous year. Performance letter grades in North Carolina are based on two factors: 80% of the score comes from grade level proficiency, and 20% comes from school growth. The grades marked an improvement from the past few years; during the 2020-21 school year, half of all schools in Cumberland County received an F. 
  • 27 Cumberland schools were identified as “low-performing,” an increase of 11 schools from the previous year. Of those categorized as low-performing last year, 20 met adequate yearly growth and 17 increased their academic performance.

Largest gains

Two schools, Jack Britt High and Pine Forest High, received the maximum converted growth score of 100. 

At the elementary school level, Montclair Elementary saw the county’s largest gain in composite learning, with scores up 13.5%. Walker-Spivey had a gain of 9.5%. and Margaret Willis had a gain of 9.4%.

Among middle schools, virtual school Cumberland Academy saw an increase of 7.2%. Hope Mills Middle rose 6.4%. and Luther Nick Jeralds Middle was up 5.1%.

Among high schools, Alger B. Wilkins had a gain of 10.1%. Reid Ross Classical High saw an increase of 9.5%, and Gray's Creek High increased 8%.

Graduation rates

Overall graduation rates in Cumberland County hit a 17-year high at 86.6%, edging above the state average of 86.4%. All high schools in the district had higher graduation rates than in the previous year or already had rates of 100%. 

  • Jack Britt: 93%. 
  • Douglas Byrd: 75.3%.
  • Cape Fear: 92%. 
  • Cumberland International: 100%.
  • Cross Creek Early College: 100%. 
  • Gray's Creek: 90.7%.
  • E.E. Smith: 79.7%.
  • A.B. Wilkins: 79.8%.
  • Massey Hill Classical: 96.7%.
  • Pine Forest: 85.6%.
  • Reid-Ross Classical: 100%.
  • Seventy-First: 83.4%. 
  • South View: 84.7%.
  • Terry Sanford: 82.2%.
  • Westover: 80.9%. 
  • Cumberland Academy (virtual):  84.3%. 
  • Cumberland Polytechnic: 100% .

Performance letter grades

Only five schools saw a decrease in letter grades. All other schools' grades either stayed the same or increased from 2021-22. The five schools that saw a decrease are: 

  • Beaver Dam Elementary: A to B.
  • Bill Hefner Elementary: C to D.
  • Cumberland Mills Elementary: C to D. 
  • Mac Williams Middle: C to D.
  • Seventy-First Middle: C to D.

Low-performing schools 

Schools classified as “low-performing” received a grade of D or F, and school growth was categorized as “met expected growth” or “not met expected growth,” according to DPI. Six of Cumberland’s 16 low-performing schools in 2021-22 were removed from the list because of improved performance; for 2022-23, Cumberland had 27 low-performing schools: 

  • Loyd Auman Elementary.
  • Brentwood Elementary.
  • C. Wayne Collier Elementary.
  • J.W. Coon Elementary.
  • Cumberland Mills Elementary.
  • Ferguson-Easley Elementary.
  • Bill Hefner Elementary.
  • Ed V. Baldwin Elementary.
  • Lucile Souders Elementary.
  • Elizabeth Cashwell Elementary.
  • Benjamin J. Martin Elementary.
  • College Lakes Elementary.
  • Margaret Willis Elementary.
  • Montclair Elementary.
  • William H. Owen Elementary.
  • Sunnyside Elementary.
  • Cumberland Academy K-5.
  • Warrenwood Elementary.
  • Westarea Elementary.
  • William T. Brown Elementary.
  • Douglas Byrd Middle.
  • Anne Chesnut Middle.
  • Lewis Chapel Middle.
  • Luther "Nick" Jeralds Middle.
  • Mac Williams Middle
  • South View Middle.
  • Douglas Byrd High.

Growth expectations:

Growth expectations are a measure of academic progress of students compared to state standards. In Cumberland County, 84.2% of schools met or exceeded growth. Only 11 schools did not meet expectations.

"The 2022-23 data and accountability results affirm the remarkable work taking place in our schools,” Connelly said. “The notable improvements in student proficiency serve as a clear confirmation that our educational initiatives are headed in the right direction."

What do you think of these school results? Send an email to talk@cityviewnc.com.

Contact Char Morrison at cmorrison@cityviewnc.com.

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Cumberland County, schools, test results, school performance, Fayetteville