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New Criteria Will Change How Student Progress is Measured

July 31, 2018 – Accountability results from the 2017-18 school year will be reported using new or modified indicators of progress. The school board heard an update Tuesday about the changes that were made under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), approved in December 2015, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

The changes will affect the reporting of school performance grades, how proficiency is calculated when fewer than 95 percent of students are tested, how English Learners are tracked and how their progress is measured, how graduation rates are calculated, and how eighth grade and high school math proficiencies are recorded. Schools will also be assessed yearly for progress toward 10-year goals set by the state. 

Among the changes:

  • Proficiency will be measured by the number of students actually tested, unless 95 percent of students were not tested. This applies to all students and each subgroup. In the past, if 90 out of 100 students were tested at a school and 40 of them were proficient, the measurement would be 40 divided by 90, or 44.4 percent proficient. Now, since that school did not meet the 95 percent participation rate, the calculation will be 40 divided by 95, or 42.1 percent proficient.
  • English Learners (EL) who exit EL status will remain in the subgroup for four years, instead of the previous two. This should help EL subgroup proficiency. EL students will also be measured on progress, a new requirement under ESSA.
  • Schools will continue to receive school performance grades based on their overall results, but now will receive grades for subgroups as well, including students with disabilities, English Learners, economically disadvantaged students and racial/ethnic groups. This will make the differences in subgroup performance more readily apparent.
  • Previously, students who transferred into the district not on track to graduate on time were not included in the school or district cohort graduation rate. Now, those students will be included in the calculations for both. Students who transferred between GCS schools and were considered “off-track” will also now be included in the school calculations, whereas before they were only included in the district rate.
  • For example, if a graduating class includes 50 students, five of whom were off-track, that would previously have brought the cohort down to 45 students. If 43 of them graduated on time, the graduation rate was 95.6 percent. Now, the graduation rate would be calculated as 43 out of 50, or 86 percent. This means that graduation rates will likely decrease in GCS and across the state.
  • Also, students will remain in the subgroups they started with in ninth grade, even if their status changes (such as English Learners and economically disadvantaged).
  • Math I is a course that can be taken in middle or high school, depending on the child’s academic achievement. Previously, Math I scores would count toward the high school results, even if the test was taken in middle school. Now, grade 8 math results will be determined by combining the results of grade 8 math EOGs, Math I EOCs of current eighth grade students, and any banked scores from students who took the Math I EOC in seventh grade.
  • For 2017-18, high schools will continue to use banked Math I scores for math proficiency results. Starting in 2018-19, high schools will use a combination of Math I and Math III scores taken in the current year to determine math proficiency. Math III will be a new exam.

Accountability results from 2017-18 are expected to be released by the state in September.