How did Alabama earn a ‘C’ on its first-ever report card? philton4 January 14, 2018 Uncategorized Alabama education officials gave K-12 public schools a ‘C’ for the 2016-2017 school year, earning 79 out of 100 available points on the first-ever state report card assigning letter grades based on student and school-based measures. That grade was revealed during the Alabama Board of Education work session on Jan. 11. School- and district-level grades will be made public on Feb. 1, according to state officials. The state report card is required by a law passed in 2012, called the Legislative School Performance Recognition Program Act. The law required the use of A through F letter grades to identify school performance. State officials are calling this a “prototype” as they intend to gather public input on the design of the report card in February and March before finalizing it in the fall. The ‘C’ grade Alabama earned reflects a number of measures of school and student performance, including achievement and graduation rates. Fourteen states currently use A through F grading systems. Proponents of letter grades say the simple rating is more easily understood by parents and communities. Opponents say education is too complex to reduce performance to a single letter grade. Paige Kowalski of the Data Quality Campaign, which studies the quality of education-related information provided by states, said, “Our research shows that 89 percent of parents think that a school’s overall performance rating, like an A-F letter grade, would help them make decisions related to their child’s education.” So, after six years of development, state education officials decided these five measures best reflect the work of Alabama’s schools: Academic achievement as measured by the scores in grades 3 through 8 and in grade 10 on the ACT Aspire from spring 2017, How much student test scores have improved from one year to the next, i.e., from 3rd to 4th grade, How many students graduated from high school in four years and in five years, How many students earned indicators of college or career readiness, and How many students miss 15 days of school or more, called a chronic absenteeism indicator. All schools, except those noted below, have been graded, but the public won’t see those grades until Feb. 1. Schools that exclusively serve special populations, such as children with disabilities or incarcerated youth, and schools that don’t have any tested grades (such as schools serving Kindergarten through 2nd grade) are excluded from the grading system. Students enrolled at the Alabama School of Fine Arts or at the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science are not included, nor are those schools given grades. Only students who were enrolled for a “full academic year” are included in the grade. Students are considered enrolled for a full academic year if they are included on a school or district’s enrollment on the 20-day-after-Labor Day report and also in the ninth month of the school year without a break in enrollment. Students that move between schools during the school year within the same district don’t count in either school’s grade, but do count in the district’s grade. Students that move during the school year from one district to another within Alabama don’t count in the grade for a school or a district, but they do count in the state’s grade. The public can’t do much with the state’s overall grade, but when school and district grades are released on Feb. 1, parents and communities will have a whole lot more information about their public schools than they’ve ever had before. How the grade is calculated It’s important to understand what the points for each indicator mean and how the overall grade was calculated in order to ask the right questions and target improvement efforts within a school. The best way to view the report card is online at this link. It can be accessed easily from the home page of the Alabama State Department of Education web site, www.alsde.edu. Here’s a look at how the grades are calculated, what the indicators mean, and how to interpret the scores. The state department has provided a technical guide with details on calculations here. Overall score Simply put, the higher the overall point score, the higher the grade. Higher points mean better outcomes for students, at least on the measures included in the report card. Both the point score and letter grade will be displayed prominently on the online dashboard. The score is a sum of the points for each of the individual indicators. The grading scale is the classic A through F scale, where 90 and above is an ‘A’, 80 to 89 points earns a ‘B’, 70 to 79 points is a ‘C’, 60 to 69 points is a ‘D’, and 59 or below earns an ‘F’. The asterisk (*) If an asterisk is visible, as it is on the state’s overall grade, that means at least one subpopulations, noted below, didn’t meet the state’s score in at least one of the indicators. The details will be available adjacent to each indicator. According to the state report card, only Asian students and students of two or more races, met at a minimum the state score for all indicators. The red ‘X’ means that group failed to meet the state score for at least one indicator. Subpopulations, also called subgroups, first got attention under No Child Left Behind, which required schools to show a subgroup’s test results in order to ensure small groups of students didn’t get lost in the larger school population. The requirement to break out, or disaggregate, results for subgroups remained in ESSA. Alabama’s overall grade for K-12 public schools for the 2016-2017 school year, published Jan. 11, 2018. Subpopulations Subpopulations, or subgroups, are a way of breaking down students by race, ethnicity, disability status, poverty status, and English language proficiency status. The subpopulations included are: Race and ethnicity groups, including American Indian/Alaska Native Asian Black or African American Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander White Two or more races Economically disadvantaged (if a student is eligible for free or reduced-price meals) Students with disabilities (specifically, students with an Individualized Education Plan) Students with Limited English Proficiency Student engagement While not currently included as a part of the overall point score, this is a measure of how many students in 6th grade or above are engaged in at least one extra- or co-curricular activity connected to the school, such as sports, student government, community service, etc. District officials were responsible for submitting this indicator as the state department does not collect that information. When you click on the link, you’ll see the individual measures by district and school. Because students could be counted more than once if they participated in more than one activity, the percentage may be inflated as to the overall student population. State officials said student engagement is a good way to monitor whether students are at risk of dropping out of school. Expenditures per student This section displays the amount of funding from federal, state, and local sources that is spent “for the education of each student.” State officials said this is included because not all communities invest the same amount of resources in students which can impact student outcomes. Accountability indicators These are the factors the state department of education chose to represent school performance in Alabama. Many education groups had a hand in deciding which of these factors were included and what weight each is worth. For the report card, each of the indicators is scored individually, then multiplied by the appropriate weight, and ultimately added together to get the total score. For the 2016-2017 report card, the math and reading results for students in 3rd through 8th grades and also in 10th grade taking the ACT Aspire, the Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA) and Scantron (Florence City Schools only) were used. Academic achievement Attaining high achievement scores is the goal schools should be aiming at, state officials said. Alabama students earned 60.27 points for the 2016-2017 school year. That does not mean that 60.27 percent of students reached proficiency on state tests. This score is based on the percentage of students in tested grades scoring at level 2 (close), 3 (ready), or 4 (exceeding). Students at level 2 earn one-half of one point. Students at level 3 earn one point, and students at level 4 earn 1.25 points. The total of students at each level is multiplied by the appropriate weight, and those points are added together for the total point score in achievement. The percentage of students proficient on state tests was published on the federal report card, released in December. On tests taken in spring of 2017, 39 percent of all tested students reached proficiency in reading, 44 percent in math, and 35 percent in science. Academic growth Academic growth is considered by many to be a more important measure of school success than achievement. When a student enters a school for the first time, the school takes the child where they are and moves them forward. The academic growth measure is an attempt to see how well schools are doing that. Points earned for academic growth are an indication of how well schools are moving students forward as measured by growth in test scores from one year to the next. Individual student growth is categorized as low, average, or high. Students with low growth earn no points, average growth earns one point, and high growth earns 1.5 points. The total of students at each level is multiplied by the appropriate weight, and those points are added together for the total point score in academic growth. Statewide, Alabama’s schools earned 87.86 points. Again, that is not the same as saying 87.86 percent of children showed growth. In fact, the public doesn’t know how many students showed which level of growth. The only assertion that can be made from the point score for this indicator is: the higher the academic growth score, the better the school did at moving children forward in their education as measured by test scores. Graduation rate Alabama officials have had their troubles with graduation rates in recent years, with federal auditors finding the state had artificially inflated graduation rates by including students who did not take rigorous coursework aligned with Alabama’s standards. Points for this indicator are earned based on the percentage of students who graduate within either four or five years of when they first entered ninth grade. Again, Alabama’s earning 87 points does not mean that 87 percent of students graduated within four or five years. Alabama’s high school graduation rate for 2017 has not yet been released, but these points are based on the 2017 graduation rates. The 2016 four-year graduation rate for the state was 87.1 percent. College and career readiness Because Alabama no longer requires students to pass a graduation test, some have questioned how education officials can know that students are ready to enter the workforce or attend college. Points are awarded for this indicator based on the percentage of students earning one of seven credentials indicating the student is ready for college or career. Those indicators are: Earning a benchmark score in any section of the ACT college entrance exam, Earning a score of “3” or greater on an Advanced Placement test, Earning a score of “5” or greater on an International Baccalaureate test, Earning college credit through a dual enrollment course or other postsecondary course, Earning an industry credential in a career tech course, Being accepted into the military, or Achieving the silver or gold level on the ACT WorkKeys exam. This measure includes all students, not just graduates, who started 9th grade four years earlier. Alabama students earned 66 points in this category, meaning 66 percent of students who started 9th grade in 2013, had earned one of these indicators. Chronic absenteeism This is a count of students who have missed 15 or more days of school during the 2016-2017 school year. These are full-day absences, excused and unexcused. Students can’t learn if they aren’t at school, state officials said. Research shows that schools can play a role in reducing chronic absenteeism and state officials have been helping schools across the state address this issue in recent years. The number of points awarded is based on the students not chronically absent. The number shown on the report card shows that 17.68 percent of students were chronically absent during the 2016-2017 school year. So the number of points awarded for the indicator is the inverse, or 82.32 points. Adding it all up, getting a grade, seeing who’s struggling Each school’s point score for each indicator will then be added up, and a grade will be assigned. The overall grade is based on lumping all students together into one big group. State officials said they wanted to provide the breakdown of subpopulations to help school and district officials target improvement efforts. On every indicator except for chronic absenteeism, five subpopulations scored fewer points than the state did overall: Black students, Hispanic and Latino students, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and students with Limited English Proficiency. On the chronic absenteeism indicator, the subpopulations not scoring as high as the state overall are American Indian and Alaska Native students, white students, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities. State officials said the next step for schools and parents is to use the information provided to craft a plan to improve outcomes for students. Reaction to the state’s overall grade and distribution of points ranged from concern over low points in achievement to surprise that the overall point score was as high as it was. Here’s the Alabama State Department of Education’s official press release. Source link Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.