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Review finds Carson, South make the grade

By Sarah Nagem
snagem@salisburypost.com
Two Rowan-Salisbury high schools that originally seemed to fail federal education standards last school year actually made the grade, officials say.
The state had previously said Jesse Carson and South Rowan high schools did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress, which is part of No Child Left Behind.
But further review of the numbers revealed the schools met all their federal targets, said Colby Cochran, director of assessment and accountability services for the Rowan-Salisbury system.
School officials have said they realized a clerical error occurred that skewed Carson’s results.
Nine students’ test scores were not entered in the system, Cochran said.
Seven of those should have been placed in the economically disadvantaged subgroup of students, he said.
A too-low testing participation rate among that group of students at Carson originally kept the school out of the coveted Adequate Yearly Progress success column.
The state has corrected the error, Cochran said.
At South Rowan High School, the graduation rate was the only factor that initially kept the school from meeting federal standards.
School officials had calculated a 62.3 percent four-year graduation rate at South last school year ó a rate that didn’t make the federal grade.
“We went back and double checked,” Cochran said.
After they crunched the numbers again, school leaders realized South had a four-year graduation rate of 71.9 percent, which means the school met Adequate Yearly Progress standards.
Carson and South Rowan’s results bring the total number of Rowan-Salisbury schools that met Adequate Yearly Progress last school year to 10.
North Rowan High School also did better than was originally reported, although the school still did not meet federal standards.
A mix-up about Algebra I scores meant North did not meet as many targets as it should have, Cochran said.
Originally, he said, the school met only 10 or 11 of its 14 targets.
But the school actually met 14 targets, Cochran said.
A further review of graduation rates systemwide brought good news for school leaders.
In August, the state reported that 67 percent of Rowan-Salisbury students graduated in four years in 2008.
The number is actually 70.9 percent, Cochran said.
West Rowan’s graduation rate changed drastically. Originally, the state said the school had a four-year graduation rate of 70.7 percent this past school year.
But West’s graduation rate was actually 82.2 percent, although the school still did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress.
The new systemwide four-year graduation rate of 70.9 percent pushes Rowan-Salisbury schools over the state average of 69.9 percent.
The state number will likely change, too, after corrections are considered.

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