New school scorecards address state and federal targets
PNR School Scorecard (Graphic: Renee Tanner / August 29, 2013)
For the first time, the Michigan Department of Education released School Accountability Scorecards.
Through a waiver agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, instead of meeting the federal Annual Yearly Progress targets, mandated by No Child Left Behind, and the Michigan School Report Card grades, the state and federal targets have been combined into the School Accountability Scorecards.
Lynn Slanek, director of teaching and learning for Public Schools of Petoskey, explains that the new scorecards are based on several accountability criteria — annual proficiency targets for all students, targets for subgroups, gap reduction between the scores of high and low performers, school planning and attendance or graduation rates.
The annual proficiency targets differ from district to district and from building to building within a district. The targets were set as increments of improvement that each building would need to meet in each subject area — reading, writing, math, science and social studies — to ensure that all students will be proficient by 2020. For example, schools with students who averaged significantly under proficiency will require greater improvement each year to hit their targets, than schools with students averaging nearer to proficiency.
In addition to setting targets for whole school achievement, the system sets targets for each student subgroup of 30 or more students within a school. Examples of subgroups a school might have are: students whose families are socio-economically disadvantaged, students of various ethnicities, students of two or more races, and students with disabilities.
There are also targets set to narrow the gap between the performance of the top 30 percent of students and the bottom 30 percent of students. If, for an individual school, the performance gap is greater than the state target in a subject area, the school would not hit the performance targets for that subject area.
The School Accountability Scorecard allocates points for competent and on-time completion of the School Improvement Plan, points for an educator evaluation, and points for student attendance rates at the elementary level or student graduation rates at the high school level. The educator evaluation currently considers professional development, proper credentialing and proper teacher placement, and in the future is planned to include each individual teacher’s annual student improvement rate.
All of the achievement targets and the additional areas are rated with points to determine a school’s color on the School Accountability Scorecard. The system uses green, yellow, and red colors to show where a school/district stands in each of the individual areas, and overall. Green is the highest rank and red is the lowest. If a school or district rates red in any one subgroup area, it cannot earn an overall green rating.
“About 82 percent of the schools in the state scored yellow in this first year,” said Peter Moss, superintendent of Boyne City Public Schools. No local multi-school district rated a green score.
Beaver Island Community School and Petoskey Montessori Elementary School earned green ratings. The vast majority of the local districts were rated yellow. Alanson Public Schools, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, Charlevoix Public Schools, and Pellston Public Schools rated red.
This new scorecard is one of three accountability reports available to parents. On a district’s website, parents can find the Annual Education Report, where two years of comparative state testing data is displayed for the district and each school.
Top-to-Bottom list ranks schools
The Michigan Department of Education also disseminates a Top-to-Bottom list of schools, where schools receive a percentile based on overall student achievement, academic growth, and any achievement gaps between low and high performers. Schools that earn a spot in the top 5 percent of schools on this list are outperforming schools with similar risk factors. These schools are called Reward Schools.
In Petoskey, Lincoln Elementary, Ottawa Elementary and Central Elementary schools earned Reward School Distinction designations for 2012-2013. Pellston Elementary School and Beaver Island Community School also earned distinction as Reward Schools.
Those schools that fall in the bottom 5 percent on the Top to Bottom list are called Priority Schools, and begin to receive state support and intervention. No schools in the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District are Priority Schools.
Ten percent of schools with the largest achievement gaps between the students in the top and bottom 30 percent are designated as Focus Schools. For a Focus School, the state Department of Education offers support in analyzing achievement data, facilitating professional dialogue and customizing interventions.
Boyne City Middle School, East Jordan High School and Harbor Spring High School were designated as Focus Schools for 2012-2013. Boyne City Middle School and Petoskey Middle School were Focus Schools in 2011-2012. Petoskey Middle School is not on the Focus School list for 2012-2013. In 2011-2012, Boyne City became a Focus School because of the achievement gap between the top and bottom students in social studies and science. In 2012-2013, that gap narrowed; however, data showed a wide gap in achievement between top and bottom students in writing.
A Focus School identified in one year and not the next is conditionally suspended from all required interventions provided the school is not again named a Focus School during a four-year period. However, any school named a Focus School does not exit that status for four years.
To exit Focus School status, the school, at the end of the fourth year must make Accountability Scorecard progress including meeting the performance targets for the bottom 30 percent subgroup. The school must submit a report to the Michigan Department of Education documenting the on-going steps that will be taken to sustain the achievement results.