Charlotte in Education

CMS Provides Preliminary Test Results in Charlotte for the 2020-2021 School Year

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools today provided preliminary test results from the 2020-2021 school year.

Results indicate the existence of significant educational challenges due to the wide-ranging impact of more than a year of COVID-19 pandemic conditions. Assessments indicated lower end-of-course performance among all demographic subgroups in almost all grade levels and subjects.

“After more than a year of disruption to public education in our community, these results are not unexpected, but they must serve as a signal that even while the pandemic tries to keep a tight grip around our lives, we must find innovative ways to help our students reach their full potential,” said Earnest Winston, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “We will improve student outcomes by focusing on individual student needs because every student arrives at the start of this school year in a much different place than pre-COVID.”

Results for the 2020-2021 school year include some bright spots. CMS students in many subgroups performed better on Math 3 assessments. CMS results also show improvement in the percentage of students scoring 17 or better on the ACT exam. The ACT results for CMS students show a higher percentage of students scoring 17 or better, 61%, than the statewide percentage.

CMS leaders echoed N.C. Department of Public Instruction officials in cautioning that due to atypical teaching and learning for most of the past 18 months, results are not directly comparable to previous years. However, results demonstrate challenges that must be addressed. While not useful in comparing year to year, the results will be helpful in guiding response and recovery steps and informing teaching and learning.

“We believe in our strategic plan and in the ability of our teachers, support staff and administrators to help our students accelerate learning,” said Winston. “We know getting back on track to make sure our students are ready for college and careers is going to take a multiyear effort, and we have already begun implementing actions to help us get there.”

Among action steps already in place or soon to be implemented are:

  • Using as much as $50 million of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to provide additional teaching and support for students in CMS’ 42 lowest performing schools
  • Ensuring all schools have adequate social and emotional learning support staff to help students as they process the effects of disrupted education and other impacts of the pandemic; this includes having school-based mental health centers at 130 CMS schools
  • Focusing additional staff on support for students and families for whom English is not the first language; this includes 34 bilingual advocates and five full-time translators at schools where such needs are greatest
  • A dedicated effort to combat chronic absenteeism, with expansion of programs at three high schools with acute need
  • A continuous improvement approach to teaching and learning, reviewing the success of actions implemented and revising course as necessary to help improve outcomes
  • The presentation from the public briefing can be foundĀ here.

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