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.