Fewer Guilford County Schools earned top marks for academic growth in 2019 than 2017, according to data presented at Tuesday's school board meeting. 

About 22 percent of schools exceeded the state's benchmarks for academic growth. That's about 10 percent less than in 2017. The district wants to raise that number. It's part of a larger plan to close the achievement gap between minority and white students. 

Growth is measured by a student's year-to-year change in test scores. District officials say unlike other metrics, it's highly dependent on a student's schooling, rather than demographic factors. 

District leaders emphasized that nearly 75 percent of schools did at least meet growth benchmarks. Superintendent Sharon Contreras pointed to progress made by elementary and middle schools. And she noted GCS is doing well when compared to similar districts. 

“We outpace them in growth," she said. "So that is the result of an entire district staying focused when the district is becoming more poor and students are coming in lower, less prepared.” 

Officials say changes to state accountability standards may account for some of the decreases. 

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