“This is a way to identify where resources need to go. I know for a fact that resources matter,” Atkinson said.
Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement on Thursday that the report is a positive step toward transparency for parents, communities and policymakers.
“When a school is struggling, we need to work together to provide it the support it needs. When a school is excelling, we need to learn from and spread that excellence, so that every child, regardless of circumstance, has the opportunity to reach their potential.”
The report also highlights the fact that 75.4 percent of schools meet or exceed expected growth — a statistic that many critics think should be weighted more heavily.
Since the adoption of this grading system, some educators, administrators and policymakers have questioned the methodology used to determine the grades. Currently, 80 percent of the grade is based on student achievement, or performance, while only 20 percent is based on academic growth.
Atkinson supports having two separate grades, one for growth and one for performance, which could be averaged together.
Jeff Nash, a spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said that even though his district did very well overall, he hopes that student growth will be weighted more heavily in the future.
“Our superintendent preaches the growth mindset all the time,” said Nash. “So even though our scores were high… we still would like to see that formula change where growth has a higher impact on it.”
Bob Luebke, a policy analyst for the conservative Civitas Institute, said he thinks that minor changes will be made.
“I believe there’s probably going to be some tweaking on how the results are derived, but I think it’s good overall that we’re doing that,” said Luebke.
Some counties, such as Wake and Forsyth, released their own report cards that emphasized growth more — and Luebke said he thinks issuing additional information is a good thing.
Atkinson said she expects the legislature will give some attention to these issues this session.
“I am optimistic that the General Assembly will use these data to rededicate themselves to helping people who really need more resources, to make a difference for our children.”