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Union County Public Schools announces 2021-2022 accountability results

District takes top spot for cohort graduation rate and overall grade level proficiency among 12 largest districts

Union County Public Schools (UCPS) and the North Carolina State Board of Education has announced academic and school accountability results for the 2021-2022 school year.

During the Sept. 1 Union County Board of Education meeting, staff released data for school performance grades, district and grade level proficiency, growth, math course rigor, four-year cohort graduation rate and career and college readiness.

According to the data, UCPS continues to outperform the state and several large districts in multiple testing and accountability areas. Most notably, the district’s 2022 four-year cohort graduation rate is 92.3 percent, taking the top spot among the 12 largest school districts. UCPS also outperformed the state’s four-year cohort graduation rate of 86.2 percent. The district’s graduation rate was 92.7 percent in 2021. 

School Performance Grades are comprised of 80 percent proficiency and 20 percent growth. State results show that for the 2021-2022 school year, out of 50 schools, 74 percent of schools earned a School Performance Grade of A, B or C and 60 percent of schools either met or exceeded growth. Three schools, South Providence, Wolfe School and Walter Bickett Education Center participate in the Alternative Accountability Model. 

In addition, 67.7 percent of students were Grade Level Proficient (GLP) and 49.7 percent were College and Career Ready (CCR). This compares to 63 percent GLP and 46.5 percent CCR in 2020-2021—a increase of five percentage points. Here again, UCPS outperformed the state in GLP by 16.3 percentage points and ranked the highest among the 12 largest districts. 

“We have seen great progress since the 2020-2021 school year and I want to thank our teachers, principals, administrators, parents and students for working hard and staying the course. We continue to lead the state in academic performance,” said Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan. “While there is much to celebrate, there are also areas where we need to improve. The data shows that our students need more time in school in order to fully return to pre-pandemic levels of academic achievement. Given the strategies we have in place to provide high quality teaching, learning and wrap around services, we are highly confident that this can be attained during the 2022-23 school year.”

Overall grade-level proficiency data showed that eighth-grade science, NC Math III and English II have returned to pre-pandemic proficiency levels. Compared to the State of North Carolina in all tested grades (3 -12) and subjects, UCPS ranked number two in overall proficiency rates.

At the elementary level, reading scores for third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students have improved. Notably, fourth-grade proficiency rates jumped from 59.5 percent in 2020-2021 to 64.7 percent in 2021-2022. For math, elementary students performed higher in 2021-2022, resulting in nearly a seven-percentage point increase for third and fifth graders.

Additional UCPS accountability accomplishments:

  • The district’s passing rate on Advanced Placement exams was 68.5 percent, the highest it has been in six years.
  • Among the 12 largest districts, UCPS ranked number one for ACT composite score of 19 or higher (57.6 percent). The state overall is 41.7 percent.
  • Math Course Rigor scores remain greater than 95 percent.
  • Middle school proficiency scores are up from the 2020-2021 school year in reading and math.

To put the accountability results into context, here is a recap of our testing and accountability journey since the 2018-2019 school year.

  • The last school year with a full data report for accountability results was 2018-2019.
  • Waivers were granted in 2019-2020 for end-of-year testing and end-of year accountability.
  • In 2020-2021, partial waivers were granted. End-of-year testing was not waived, but end-of-year accountability was waived.
  • No waivers were granted for the 2021-2022 school year. School districts were held to the same testing and accountability model as the 2018-2019 school year.