Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Grading N.C. schools: House wants to change curve

North Carolina's public schools are poised to get letter grades based on this year's results on state exams.  But it's not yet clear how those grades will be assigned.

The bill passed last summer called for 80 percent of a school's score to be based on student proficiency and 20 percent on growth.  The House budget plan introduced Tuesday would flip that.

Proficiency is easy to understand:  It's the percent of students who scored at or above grade level on state exams.  Critics say that doesn't reflect the quality of a school as much as the readiness and motivation of the students who attend.

Growth is a more complicated calculation designed to measure whether students did better or worse than expected based on past performance.  It can recognize a school that's making strides with the most challenged students,  or highlight a school that's not doing enough to stimulate students who are already doing well.  You can look up last year's growth scores here,  and here's an article I wrote about last year's results.

Ranson Middle scored high on growth, low on proficiency

Somehow the combination of those measures will be turned into a score from 0-100.  The original bill sets a 10-point scale:  90 and up is an A,  80 and up a B,  etc.,  with anything below 60 an F.  However,  it sets a 15-point scale for the first year,  with As going as low as 85 and Fs falling below 40.  The House proposal would keep that lower scale moving forward.

The House plan also includes a couple items that will likely be celebrated in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  Like the governor's budget,  but unlike the Senate's,  it includes almost $1.9 million for six early and middle college high schools,  three of which are in CMS.  They're set to open in August,  and CMS is counting on the money.

It also eliminates the "25 percent plan"  that CMS and many other districts have been fighting.

House Speaker Thom Tillis,  a Mecklenburg Republican who was once an active CMS parent,  said the push to approve a budget before the end of June will help districts plan for the coming year,  something local officials often wish for.  But what will emerge from the speeded-up work to mesh the House and Senate plans remains to be seen.


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

and if you try to get your child special services because they desperately need it, the school will find any way to keep your child from receiving those services if they show even the slightest growth during the school year. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous 8:58,
not sure what school system your child attends, but I can assure you that has not been the case where my children attend school (Kannapolis City Schools). As a matter of fact, our schools have bent over backwards to meet the needs of all the children who may need extra help. From teachers who have tutored after school or after school programs designed to help children who are struggling with reading.

not all school systems are the same, please keep that in mind when making such comments, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ann,

It would be helpful if your summary of how the scores are calculated was accurate. It is not.

Thank you.

Ann Doss Helms said...

3:44, can you explain? I'm eager to correct if something is wrong.

Anonymous said...

So teachers get a little raise. Some, very little. The bureaucrats get what they want and business as usual.

Anonymous said...

The only scenario where growth is counted is IF and only IF a school scores BELOW a certain percentage. If a school is within a "passing range", then GROWTH is not factored in. This could be interesting if, say, a school earns a D and growth doesn't count, but another school earns and F and then with the 20% factored as growth, goes up to a C.

Ann Doss Helms said...

7:04/3:44, that's not quite the way I read it, but there are some caveats: "If a school has met expected growth and inclusion of the school's growth score reduces the school's performance score and grade, a school may choose to use the school achievement score solely to calculate the performance score and grade." I read that as saying a high pass rate could be dragged down by low growth (quite a bit, if they settle on 80 percent growth), but if your pass rate is better than your growth/achievement combined score you can take the achievement alone, so long as growth is expected or higher.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, if the state's curve matches the gigantic curve given on all NC Final exams then every school in this state will be rated SUPERIOR!

Anonymous said...

11:26 Thank you, but I have been in the CMs system for quite a few years and know it well. If your child is an average or below student, they will struggle unless a particular teacher takes them under their wing. Unless your child is a high performer or special needs student, they will not receive all the services they should to succeed. Thankfully I am able to pay a lot of money for tutoring, and work with all of my kids at night to ensure they don't fall through the cracks. That's sad.

Anonymous said...

why should any of the parents be surprised, CMS is just an education factory.

Anonymous said...

This is a state issue, not CMS. Strange NC...

Anonymous said...

Why can't this state have a pay plan for teachers? All states have pay plans. Doesn't anyone else find this to be weird? People keep saying raise but isn't it just a normal plan?

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher trying to understand EVAAS. Does anyone know if there is a control for outliers? Hypothetically, in a class of 20 students...if every kid moved up in the normal curve by 5 percentile points...that would be great exceeded growth. But if only 1 kid in the class misbubbled, and went from the 99th percentile to the 1st...would that drop in 100 points negate all the growth of the other kids? Or vice-versa, if a bad teacher had all kids drop 5 percentiles, except one kid who got on meds mid year and therefore had a gain of 60+ percentile points...is there a weighted control for outliers? Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...so let me get this straight. CMS kids are graded on a 7 point scale, but schools get to be graded on a 10-15 point scale?

Anonymous said...

Ready Fire Aim

This describes anyone working for CMeS. It is a black hole of wasted money and "market adjustments". Just move the chairs around and dumb everything down. Over and over again.

Anonymous said...

9:29 AM, here's an article which specifically addresses your question if outliers (though EVAAS' developer prefers not to use that term):

http://vamboozled.com/tennessees-tvaas-now-evaas-developer-w-l-sanders-on-his-vam/

"Sanders claims that the model’s “formula adjusts for one-offs,” again contrary to what continues to emerge in the research. The statistics, unfortunately, do not work like a pure statistician would (still) hope."