State releases school accountability numbers | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 19, 2012

State releases school accountability numbers

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 10:08 AM

The state Education Department today released its first accountability reports under the state's new accountability system. A majority of schools are judged in need of improvement, based on either overall scores on standard tests or the performance of the subgroups of poor, non-English speaking and special ed students.

The new system is meant to produce objective measures of student achievement, student growth and high school graduation rate. Rather than being compared against other schools - sometimes with dramatically different demographics, such as rich and poor - schools are to be measured on their own growth and meeting targets.

Said an explanatory news release:

When a school misses its targets, that does not mean it is a failing school. It means those school leaders and teachers look at the data to find out which students are not making their gains. It means they develop teaching and learning strategies to help each student achieve.

“We have to forget what the old system’s labels meant,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell. “Needs Improvement should not be associated with school level improvement status of old. It simply means the school missed one or more targets. Under the new system, schools do not progress in year one, two, three, or go deeper into school improvement.”

The report names 5 exemplary schools. It said 341 were achieving; 587 were listed as "needs improvement"; and another 157 needing even greater improvement of varying degrees.

The five exemplary schools: KIPP Delta Collegiate High School in Helena, Arnold Drive Elementary in the Pulaski School District, Clinton Junior HIgh, Haas Hall Academy and Cotton Plant Elementary.

The full news release follows on the jump.

Here's a link to look up each school in Arkansas. (Link corrected.) Those without updated Excel software might find this list in the Democrat-Gazette more readily accessible.

PS - You'll find that most of the state's highly touted charter schools are on the "needs improvement" list.

I'd welcome some crowd-sourcing of what the figures contain. What's really needed, though, is one of those statewide analyses that compares like with like and identifies the schools that break the expectations mold despite majority populations - poor students, for example - that typically fall behind in such measures.

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) today officially released the 2012 school ESEA accountability reports for the first time under standards of the state’s new accountability system.

The new system measures student performance on state assessments looking at the data in three different ways—student achievement, student growth and graduation rate at high schools. The system maintains a focus on helping students achieve proficiency in both literacy and math, but also gives credit for improving performance along the way.

Each school and school district is assigned Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs). Those AMOs were set from the 2011 assessment results as required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Each school is held accountable for every student. The school’s AMOs or targets are individualized and apply only to that particular school and its students. Each school has a target for performance and a target for growth. High schools have targets for graduation rate. The school can meet the target for performance, or the target for growth or the target for graduation rate and be considered achieving.

Each school is unique in its student population. Schools no longer compete with those in their district or with those across the state or chase a state level target.

School classifications include Exemplary, Achieving, Needs Improvement, Needs Improvement Focus or Needs Improvement Priority. These new classifications replace labels formerly used under No Child Left Behind.

When a school misses its targets, that does not mean it is a failing school. It means those school leaders and teachers look at the data to find out which students are not making their gains. It means they develop teaching and learning strategies to help each student achieve.

“We have to forget what the old system’s labels meant,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell. “Needs Improvement should not be associated with school level improvement status of old. It simply means the school missed one or more targets. Under the new system, schools do not progress in year one, two, three, or go deeper into school improvement.”

The new accountability system will provide communities clear understanding of how their schools and districts are performing upon full implementation of the rigorous Common Core Standards in 2014-15.

“We need to look at every idea and be more creative in boosting student achievement,” Kimbrell said. “We believe as we continue to work with districts in this transition period to improve education, we will see improvements for students in our state.”

To view the complete 2012 accountability results for schools visit http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/communications/pressroom.

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