Polk County Schools students delivered the highest-ranked performance in the state on North Carolina’s end-of-grade and end-of-course exams for the 2017-18 academic year.

Across the district, 76.1 percent of all students met grade level proficiency on the state exams. That is the highest figure of any public school district in North Carolina.

For the third straight year, all seven Polk County schools also scored a B or higher on the School Performance Grades, a letter grade required by state law and based on a formula that seeks to measure student growth on EOC and EOG tests. The North Carolina State Board of Education released this year’s School Performance Grades at its meeting on Wednesday.

Polk County Schools is one of only two districts in the state with all schools earning no lower than a B. The other is Elkin City Schools, which had all three of its schools earn a B. All seven Polk County schools received a B for the 2017-18 academic year.

“Being one of the highest performing districts in the state is always our goal and we are certainly excited to be at the top of the list,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. “We’re very proud of the effort of our students, teachers, schools, and community. Our performance reflects the commitment our students and families have to doing well, the hard work of our staff and schools, and the tremendous support we receive from our community.”

More information on test results can be found on polkschools.org.

Each school’s grade reflects a weighted average of the percentage of students scoring at or above proficient on end-of-course and end-of-grade exams (80 percent) and the percentage of students reaching expected growth levels (20 percent). The percentages are converted to a 100-point scale and corresponding letter grade.

Polk County Schools had the highest composite percentage of students meeting grade level proficiency across all tests of any public school district for fourth, fifth and sixth grades. The district also ranked first in that measure for 3rd-8th Math and 3rd-8th English Language Arts.

Other highlights from the data:

  • Polk Central Elementary exceeded expected growth across all grades
  • Polk County Middle exceeded expected growth in math
  • Saluda Elementary exceeded expected growth in reading
  • Sunny View Elementary exceeded expected growth in reading
  • Polk Central Elementary exceeded expected growth in reading
  • All Polk County Schools met or exceeded expected growth
  • Polk County ranked first in the state on 11 of the 27 indicators in the report
  • Polk County ranked in the top five in the state on 23 of the 27 indicators in the report

“These results help confirm that our schools are providing quality educational experiences for students,” Greene said. “The ranking also reminds us of the importance of consistently working to improve and ensure we are addressing the needs of every student.”

Because of changes to the state’s accountability measurements required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, school grades, growth results and graduation rates for the 2017-18 school year are not comparable to past performance during the five years the state has assessed schools using A-F letter grades and 13 years reporting the Cohort Graduation Rate.

Schools are now accountable for the progress of non-English speaking students in mastering English skills and are also subject to a number of other changes affecting School Performance Grades, growth calculations and the graduation rate.

In terms of the performance of individual students on state end-of-grade and end-of-course exams, however, calculations for determining rates of Grade Level Proficiency (GLP) and College and Career Readiness (CCR) are unchanged from past years