DAVIDSON COUNTY — Score reports were presented to board members for end-of-grade testing at this month’s Davidson County Board of Education retreat.

Steve Reynolds, DCS director of testing and accountability, reported EOG test data from the 2020-21 school year. Third grade reading scores indicated that 47.7% of DCS students were grade-level proficient, having scored a 3, 4 or 5 on the test. In fourth grade reading, 48.5% of students were grade-level proficient and in fifth grade reading, 40.8% of students were proficient.

“As you’ll see, as a trend across the board, math scores lag behind reading scores,” Reynolds said. “We’ve seen that across the district, we’ve seen that across the state and we’ve seen that across the nation.”

Third grade math scores revealed that 58.6% of students were grade-level proficient; 43.3% proficient in fourth grade math; 50.7% of students were proficient in fifth grade math. Those compared with sixth grade reading, which showed that 47.4% of students were grade-level proficient; 49.4% of students were grade-level proficient in seventh grade reading; 50.2% of eighth grade students were proficient in reading, culminating in a 48.9% rate as a group.

Sixth grade math showed that 47.3% of students were grade-level proficient; 51.2% of students in seventh grade math were proficient; and 50.7% of students were proficient in eighth grade math.

Reynolds also reported the high school graduation rate to the board, providing a near-90% success rate. In total, Davidson County Schools had a four-year graduation rate of 84.3%, or 89.4% if you take the five-year rate.

Reynolds compared DCS to similar school systems in the state, factoring similar student population, free and reduced lunch students and a racial breakdown that is relatively close.

Buncombe, Surry and Iredell-Statesville were the three schools compared with DCS.

“The numbers that we saw mirrored — and in a lot of cases, were even better than — what we saw across the state,” Reynolds said.

DCS board chairman Alan Beck thanked Reynolds and his team for their efforts, offering that the ongoing mission to raise test scores is not an overnight process. Beck acknowledged that the transformation could take years, in no small part due to the global pandemic derailing the norm with which local children have operated.

“It’s definite that we need to get caught up,” Beck said. “It’s not going to happen tonight. It’s not going to happen this year. … You can’t expect a teacher for this year to get last year’s stuff caught up. It’s going to take awhile.”

Also during the meeting, the school board heard from Heather Horton, principal of the Davidson County Virtual Academy, who provided enrollment data for the alternate program. According to Horton, work began over the summer in hiring for all of the positions at the virtual academy. Elementary teachers are housed at Fair Grove Elementary School, middle school teachers at Brown Middle School.

Student enrollment in the elementary school totals 74 students. That number increased to 88 in middle school and 116 in high school for a total of 278 students. The virtual academy created a different route for students than the traditional education system in brick-and-mortar schools.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.