Public Schools First in North Carolina posted an analysis of the grades given to schools by the state, based mostly on test scores. Not surprisingly, the school grades measured income, not school quality, since standardized tests measure income.

School Performance Grades

School Performance Grades

Source: N&O analysis of Public Instruction data

School performance grades started in 2013-14 modeled after a program in Florida started by Gov. Jeb Bush. All North Carolina public schools, including charters, have received A-F performance grades since 2013. 

Critics of a single school measurement believe that grades:

  • Do not reflect the learning in our schools
  • Undervalue student growth and other important measures of school quality
  • Could result in more attention to borderline students while underserving the lowest and highest performing students
  • Are often used by privatization advocates to support school choice measures and state takeovers of schools, removing these schools from local control and community input.
  • Will have negative economic impacts on a community (lower home values/sales)
  • Do not come with resources/financial support to improve grades

How did North Carolina’s Schools do This Year? Results show that these grades continue to be closely correlated with a student’s family income level.

  • Schools with greater poverty earned fewer A/A+NG’s and B’s and earned more C’s, D’s, and F’s than schools with less poverty.
  • Of the 21.7 percent of schools receiving a D or F grade, 95 percent were serving high poverty populations
  • In schools with more than 80 percent low income students, 60 percent received a D or F grade. Less than one percent of schools with less than 20% low income student populations received a D or F grade
  • Of schools with high concentrations (41 percent or more) of students who are economically disadvantaged, 71 percent met or exceeded growth, compared with 79 percent of schools serving fewer students in poverty.
  • For the 2018–19 school year, 73.3 percent of all schools met or exceeded growth expectations, a slight increase from the previous year.

Read more in our fact sheet about A-F grades here!

Source: N&O analysis of Public Instruction data

School performance grades started in 2013-14 modeled after a program in Florida started by Gov. Jeb Bush. All North Carolina public schools, including charters, have received A-F performance grades since 2013. 

Critics of a single school measurement believe that grades:

  • Do not reflect the learning in our schools
  • Undervalue student growth and other important measures of school quality
  • Could result in more attention to borderline students while underserving the lowest and highest performing students
  • Are often used by privatization advocates to support school choice measures and state takeovers of schools, removing these schools from local control and community input.
  • Will have negative economic impacts on a community (lower home values/sales)
  • Do not come with resources/financial support to improve grades

How did North Carolina’s Schools do This Year? Results show that these grades continue to be closely correlated with a student’s family income level.

  • Schools with greater poverty earned fewer A/A+NG’s and B’s and earned more C’s, D’s, and F’s than schools with less poverty.
  • Of the 21.7 percent of schools receiving a D or F grade, 95 percent were serving high poverty populations
  • In schools with more than 80 percent low income students, 60 percent received a D or F grade. Less than one percent of schools with less than 20% low income student populations received a D or F grade
  • Of schools with high concentrations (41 percent or more) of students who are economically disadvantaged, 71 percent met or exceeded growth, compared with 79 percent of schools serving fewer students in poverty.
  • For the 2018–19 school year, 73.3 percent of all schools met or exceeded growth expectations, a slight increase from the previous year.

Read more in our fact sheet about A-F grades here!