The State Board of Education recently released the accountability summary for North Carolina schools along with the four-year Cohort Graduation Rate for the Class of 2019, and the Caldwell County Schools graduation rate of approximately 88% exceeded the state rate of 86.5%, a trend that has continued for eleven years.

The school district’s graduation rate, which is calculated by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, included the perfect 100% from the Caldwell Early College High School and the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy (CASA), formerly known as the Caldwell Middle College. Within the last five years, the Early College has achieved 100% graduation each time and the Middle College has reached it four times.

“Raising the graduation rate begins as early as Pre-K and requires support from all facets of the community,” said Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps.  “Parental guidance and support are necessary for students to reach that first critical milestone in education – high school graduation. As a school district, we continue to build positive relationships and offer relevant courses and opportunities that meet the interests of students while educating parents and the community as a whole on the importance of graduating from high school.”

The Early College and CASA are both located on the campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. They are specifically designed to accommodate smaller class sizes, schedule students into college classes beginning in freshmen year, and set students on a course to complete a college transfer degree with a commitment to a four-year degree or earn a certification level for job readiness. In 2019, students at the Early College earned 6,128 college transfer credits and 66% of those students were First Generation College. Each graduate saved an average cost of $11,000 in tuition and college textbooks since students attend these innovative high schools at no cost to families.

The chart below indicates the school district graduation rate since 2008:

Graduation Rate Caldwell North Carolina
2018-2019 Approximately 88% 86.5%
2017-2018 88.5% 86.3%
2016-2017 90% 86.5%
2015-2016 90.8% 85.8%
2014-2015 90.6% 85.4%
2013-2014 90.9% 83.8%
2012-2013 89.4% 82.5%
2011-2012 84.6% 80.4%
2010-2011 81.4% 77.9%
2009-2010 75.3% 74.2%
2008-2009 72.5% 71.8%
2007-2008 68.5% 70.3%

Since 2007, the percentage of students graduating from high school in Caldwell County in four years or less has risen 20 percentage points – from 68.5 percent to 88 percent.

The performance matrix of North Carolina that affixes a letter grade for schools showed a slight improvement over last year’s accountability results. NC Department of Public Instruction reported that schools earned more As and Bs. In the Caldwell County Schools, the majority of schools made a grade of C, two up from a D the previous year and an additional A was posted by the CASA or the Middle College.

According to the state, the school grades are based mostly on overall proficiency rates on the state’s standardized end-­of-­grade tests, and to a lesser extent, the growth students make during the year, irrespective of performance level. Eighty percent of the grade is for the percentage of tests earning a score considered grade­ level proficient; 20 percent is for growth, measured by a statistical model that compares each student’s predicted test score, based on past performance, against his or her actual result.

“When you look at these test scores, it is a snapshot of one day, and we’re identifying schools with a letter grade based on a day – whether that was a good day or a bad day,” said Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps.

Article Courtesy of Caldwell County Schools