Explanation of Types of Public Schools in North Carolina

Note: All of the school types below are public schools, in that they are funded primarily through public tax dollars.

  • Regular School: a public school that students are assigned to attend because they live in the school's attendance area or attendance zone. Such schools are sometimes called “zoned schools,” “neighborhood schools” or “ZIP code schools,” and are normally only open for enrollment to students from a predetermined set of neighborhoods or ZIP codes. Regular schools are by far the most common type of school in the Charlotte area.
  • Charter School: a tuition-free, public school created on the basis of a license or “charter” made with the State Board of Education. Charter schools typically have greater freedom than traditional public schools in personnel policies, curriculum and teaching philosophy. In return, they must make a commitment to meet state standards of accountability. Charter schools are also normally open to students from counties and towns outside of where they are located. Enrollment decisions at charter schools are often lottery-based, with special consideration given to siblings of currently enrolled students.

Student Growth Index Explained

The Student Growth Index of a school is meant to measure how well the school has been growing student learning over time (i.e., years). North Carolina's public schools receive web-based reporting through the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS). EVAAS is meant to offer an objective way to measure student progress and the value schools add to students' educational attainment. EVAAS is a statistical analysis of North Carolina state assessment data, and the system provides NC schools with growth data to consider, in addition to achievement data.

If a school has a Student Growth Index of between -2.0 and 2.0, the school is deemed to have "met growth", (i.e., met its average projected growth target). A school with a Student Growth Index of less than -2.0 is considered to have "not met growth". Finally, a school with an index of greater than 2.0 is deemed to have "exceeded growth".

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Best Elementary Schools in NC
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Best Middle Schools in NC
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Best High Schools in NC
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Best Elementary Schools in SC
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Columbia Area
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Myrtle Beach Area
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Florence Area

Best Middle Schools in SC
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Florence Area

Best High Schools in SC
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Frequently Asked Questions

Contents
What is the source of school-related information on CarolinaSchoolHub?
What information was used to create CarolinaSchoolHub’s rankings?
What geographical areas does CarolinaSchoolHub cover?
If one school is ranked more highly than another, does that mean that my child will get a better education at the school with the higher rank?
Does CarolinaSchoolHub use high school graduation rates to assess high schools?
Does Carolina School Hub rank North Carolina schools against South Carolina schools?
What is the difference between student test scores and student growth?

What is the source of school-related information on CarolinaSchoolHub?

School test scores, student data and teacher information were derived from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). The rankings on the site are based on CarolinaSchoolHub's independent analysis of school data.

What information was used to create CarolinaSchoolHub’s rankings?

The rankings for each school are based on North Carolina and South Carolina school assessments.

What geographical areas does CarolinaSchoolHub cover?

We offer information on public schools in North Carolina and South Carolina.

If one school is ranked more highly than another, does that mean that my child will get a better education at the school with the higher rank?

No, not necessarily. The rankings on this site are meant to be a starting point for parents in their exploration of schools in North and South Carolina. Our rankings are not meant to be a definitive guide for the quality of individual schools or school systems.

School test scores and graduation rates are highly correlated with socio-economic factors. These socio-economic factors can often transcend the quality of instruction at any given school. In addition, each child is an individual, with their own individual learning style. A teaching philosophy that works well for one child at a school may not work well for another child.

Finally, schools have many facets that cannot be measured well through standardized data. What extracurricular activities does the school offer? What type of culture exists at the school? What is the physical environment at the school like? How well-behaved are children at the school? What types of specialized instruction are offered at the school? These and other questions should be considered by parents, beyond the rankings and other data provided on this site.

Does CarolinaSchoolHub use high school graduation rates to assess high schools?

No, we don't consider these rates in assessing high schools because the measurement of high school graduation rates is notoriously flawed. While we understand that parents may want to consider graduation rates when assessing schools themselves, we don't feel the numbers are reliable enough to be incorporated into our rating system.

Does Carolina School Hub rank North Carolina schools against South Carolina schools?

No, to date we have not shown comparisons of North Carolina schools to South Carolina schools. Comparing schools across state lines is challenging because each state has unique curricula, educational standards and data gathering methods. And each state employs its own standardized tests. The main tests that North and South Carolina share in common are the ACT and SAT. It should be noted that on average, SAT and ACT scores are higher in North Carolina than in South Carolina. However, we have not been able to reliably extrapolate the differences in these states' SAT scores to allow for meaningful comparisons of schools from the two states.

What is the difference between student test scores and student growth?

Student test scores measure a student's performance at a single point in time and correlate strongly with demographic factors. Student growth, on the other hand, measures student achievement over time (i.e., across years) and is largely independent of demographic factors. Both student test scores and student growth are important to parents in considering schools, and therefore we use display both types of data whenever possible.