County school officials, board members review test scores

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

November 15, 2013

The Sampson County Board of Education heard from the school system’s three curriculum and instruction directors about the results of the recently released and highly anticipated state EOG and EOC test scores, data that mirrored the lower performance from schools across the state.

Sampson Early College was the one exception in the system’s high schools.

Tommy Macon, assistant superintendent of Academics and Student Services, began by reminding school board members that with the new Common Core/Essential Standards curriculum there is a higher standard of proficiency that students have to reach and that anytime the curriculum changes educators and communities can expect to see an initial drop in scores.

Calling the raised expectations and the increase in course rigor “a major transition,” Macon previously noted that “obviously a learning curve for all is to be expected” but he praised Sampson County Schools’ teachers for having “accepted the challenge” and for “actively learning new proven teachr strategies to increase student learning and growth.”

“The scores are not totally indicative of the overall progress that our students are making,” stressed Macon at the end of October before the test scores were released on Nov. 7. “The 2012-2013 scores are a baseline for the new assessments and the state’s accountability model and should not be compared with previous student proficiency. Currently, we can observe student learning and growth, and over time, we expect to see a corresponding increase in student proficiency as well.”

During the work session, Jeanna Moore, director of Elementary Education, shared that in observing the test results the majority of the county’s elementary schools met or exceed their growth. Roseboro Elementary, Hargrove Elementary, and Salemburg Elementary exceeded while Midway Elementary, Plain View Elementary, and Union Intermediate met. Clement Elementary and Hobbton Elementary did not meet their growth, and growth results were not given for Union Elementary.

The elementary schools’ composite EOG proficiency scores ranged from 63.8 percent at Plain View Elementary to 29.6 percent at Salemburg Elementary.

Moore acknowledged that “these proficiency scores are much lower than we normally stand here and present” but called the scores “a good baseline” and shared that in her estimation the elementary schools will be able to “increase our scores with no problem.”

“It’s obvious that our teachers are learning and growing, and our students are too,” she added.

Becky Lockamy, director of Middle School Education, reported that growth among the system’s middle schools was split in half with Roseboro-Salemburg Middle and Midway Middle meeting their growth. Hobbton Middle and Union Middle did not meet that growth.

The middle schools’ composite EOG proficiency scores ranged from 23.1 at Union Middle to 51.6 at Midway Middle.

In looking at the breakdown of the scores in reading, math, science, and Algebra I, Lockamy pointed out that the trend of students scoring higher in math than in reading had changed, both for Sampson County and many others in the state.

According to Lockamy’s report, Sampson sixth-graders scored 37.3 percent in reading versus 32.9 percent in math; similarly, seventh graders scored 39.1 percent in reading versus 33.7 percent in math; and eighth graders switched up the previous trend as well, scoring 34.2 percent in reading versus 29 percent in math.

“With the new test, the math and reading have traded places,” she said, adding that students also earned higher proficiency percentages in science than usual.

Macon, who is also director of Secondary Education, then shared with the school board that while the majority of the system’s high schools did not meet their growth — Sampson Early College High School being the exception — all of the high schools did meet their growth in at least one subject area.

As with the middle schools, the high schools saw an overall higher composite EOC proficiency percentage in English II — 42 percent which met growth — than in Math I or Biology.

In fact, Macon pointed out, four out of the five high schools — Hobbton High, Lakewood High, Union High, and the Early College — met their growth in English II. Midway High bucked the new change, meeting its growth in Math I, not English II while the Early College met growth in both subjects.

Additionally, Lakewood High and the Early College both exceeded their growth in Biology I.

Overall, the high schools’ composite EOC proficiency scores ranged from 24.4 at Union High to 68.9 at the Early College.

“It’s not pretty but it’s like this statewide,” remarked interim superintendent Mike Warren, adding that data from the state Department of Public Instruction shows Sampson County Schools “right in the middle of the pack.”

“We’re not going to panic,” said Macon. “We’re going to take our time and look at our data.”

In an effort to provide context for the school board, Lisa Reynolds, director of Federal Programs, shared that overall Sampson County Schools met 58 out of 71, or 80.6 percent, of its federal annual measurable objective (AMO) targets, and 114 out of 139, or 82 percent, of its state AMO targets.

“We’re doing something right … the data shows that,” said Reynolds. “Do we need to do some work? Yes. Do we have anything to hand our head about? No.”

According to an online North Carolina Department of Public Instruction news release, “more than 71 percent of North Carolina public schools met or exceeded academic growth expectations in the 2012-13 school year, according to the first READY Accountability report today presented to the State Board of Education. In addition, test scores dropped as expected in the first year of more rigorous standards…In terms of academic growth, 687 schools or 28.6 percent, exceeded expected growth. A total of 1,027 schools or 42.7 percent, met expected growth. That leaves 691 schools or 28.7 percent that did not meet growth goals.”

For questions or more information from Sampson County Schools, please contact Jeana Moore, Elementary Education (ext. 20122), Becky Lockamy, Middle School Education (ext. 20131), or Tommy Macon, Secondary Education (ext. 20136) at 910-592-1401. Also visit and

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at