A proposed bill in the North Carolina General Assembly would begin the process of revamping the state’s system of evaluating and grading public schools. The move would be in line with recommendations from Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt, who proposed the new approach earlier this year.

Under the current system, schools are graded on an A-F scale. End-of-grade test results make up 80% of a school’s letter grade, with the remaining 20% dependent on students’ academic growth compared to prior years.

But if the new measure becomes law, House Bill 1057, School Performance Grade Pilot, the school grade formula would be shifted to 50% determined by student performance, 30% by student academic growth, and the remaining 20% by two additional criteria decided by the NC Department of Public Instruction.

The changes wouldn’t be implemented all at once. HB 1057 launches a pilot in a few schools during the 2024-2025 school year, with the new approach expanding to all schools by 2025-2026.

North Carolina is one of 11 states that use an A-F system to report and measure school performance and how they meet state and federal accountability requirements. 

Under a proposal from DPI in February, a new grading system would be built upon four pillars: academics, progress, readiness, and opportunity:

  • Academics: Measures proficiency in math, reading, and science across all grades.
  • Progress: Measures academic progress for all students based on the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS).
  • Readiness: Measure a student’s “readiness” to emerge into the real world and transition into college, trade school, or the workforce.
  • Opportunity: Measures school climate, intra/extracurricular activities, and chronic student absenteeism to determine the culture and climate in a school.

HB 1057 is assigned to the House Education Committee.

“While I appreciate DPI’s efforts to improve how schools are graded, I think the proposed methodology reflects a confusion about the fundamental purpose of schools,” said Dr. Robert Luebke, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation. “Yes, schools must encourage and develop students in different areas. However, any metric evaluating schools must ultimately be tied to academic development. Because DPI’s current plan moves away from that truth, I can’t support it.”