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Schools await new assessments

State setting standards for student achievement

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POSTED: April 10, 2013 10:41 a.m.

Last year, Georgia was among several states to receive a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind benchmark.
While the move was perceived as a victory of ever-increasing benchmarks that painted many schools as “failing,” it also brought uncertainty to local education officials, who were unsure what elements would factor into their performance assessments.
Now, the Georgia Department of Education has finalized its Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index and is close to releasing school evaluations. The department last month held a webinar on the scoring system and also has posted information online.
GaDoE accountability specialist Cowen Harter presented an overview in a March 29 webinar.
CCRPI Indicators have been developed over a two-year time period, and the final version is dated Jan. 31, 2013. It will be applied toward reports for the 2012 school year.
“It’s important to note that each of the indices at the high-school, middle-school and elementary-school level are comprised of three categories,” Harter said. “There are multiple data sources used to perform the indicator calculations.”
Scores are issued on a 100-point scale. In the 2013-14 school year, schools also will be scored on a five-star system for financial efficiency and school climate.
“We believe the general public understands a 100-point scale, and we wanted to create a scoring mechanism that most folks would understand,” Harter said.
The CCRPI overall score is constituted by three main components: achievement, progress and achievement gap. Achievement accounts for 70 points, and progress and achievement gap each receive 15 points.
“We believe that achievement should be most heavily weighted,” she added. That’s where content mastery, post-readiness and graduation rate/rate predictors come in.
First is content mastery, which addresses student performance on end-of-course tests and the CRCT, which will be replaced by Common Core Assessments in 2014-15.
Second is post-school readiness at each level. Post-elementary-, middle- and high-school readiness is defined by Lexile measures, attendance rates, career assessments and percentage of students to advance to higher education or enroll in rigorous options.
Some third-party data, such as enrollment reports from the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia, the College Board, the ACT and International Baccalaureate programs also will be considered. Such data will apply toward a school’s “College Ready” indicator.
“Some of our indicators need student data that currently is not submitted within student record,” Harter said. “We are working closely with the data-collections division to ensure that all of the data needed to run indicator calculations will be found within the 2013-14 student record, and for that school year, we should no longer need to utilize our data-collection application.”
The third is graduation rate. For middle and elementary schools, there will be a graduation-rate predictor category, whereas high schools will be scored according to their four-year cohort graduation rates and five-year extended cohort rates.
There are 19 indicators for the high-school indicators, and 10 indicators that would indicate exceeding the bar. At the middle- and elementary-school levels, there are 14 safe indicators and eight for exceeding the bar.
Schools also will have the opportunity to earn additional points toward their overall scores through challenge points.
School must have a minimum of 15 students within a calculation for the calculation to display on the report.
Understanding “full academic year” is critical to districts like Liberty County, which has a high rate of transient students due to its military presence.
A student must be enrolled in 65 percent of the number of days from the start date of a marking period to the end date of a marking period to count as being a “full academic year” student. Those who are not “full academic year” students will not count toward content-mastery categories for achievement, progress or achievement-gap sections at the high-school level.
Those in elementary and middle schools must be enrolled 65 percent of the number of days from the start date of the year to the close of the state testing window.
As for achievement-gap calculations, the state will take into account the gap between the state’s mean score and each school’s lowest achievers, as well as the change in the disparity.
As the Courier previously reported, the NCLB waiver does away with the accountability of Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, and its designations for schools. Another federal requirement, however, places schools in one of four categories: reward schools, priority schools, focus schools and alert schools.
Two Liberty County elementary schools were named last fall as schools with the highest performance or greatest academic gains.
Taylors Creek Elementary School was among 78 on the highest-performing list, and Jordye Bacon Elementary School was among 156 schools that made the cut for high progress, according to information released from the DoE.
Two more schools are listed as focus schools, as the Courier reported in March 2012.
Lewis Frasier and Snelson-Golden middle schools were included on a list of focus schools released March 20, 2012, by the Georgia Department of Education.

 

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