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Posted: 10:53 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2013

State releases new school grades. How did your school and district stack up? 

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By Maureen Downey

The state Department of Education just released 2012 grades for all k-12 public schools in Georgia based on a brand new measures called the Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).  You can see scores for each school and district averages for the three bands, elementary, middle and high school.

In a press call today, Georgia State School Superintendent John Barge said the new index and its multiple indicators tell schools far more than Adequate Yearly Progress, which considered student performance in single tests in math and reading.

"Everything does not hinge on a single test score... Schools are now accountable for the full scope of work they do," he said. "This is going to paint a very clear picture for schools, districts, parents, communities and business leaders of where a school is performing across the board. This accountability system now drives school improvement. Schools know exactly where they need to improve on these indicators."

The 2012 scores will provide a baseline for DOE to assess the accuracy of the index. DOE is poised to release the 2013 grades in the fall so schools will be getting another score before the year's end.

A question asked of Barge: What should parents do if their school scores 72?

He said, "They need to be a part of their school and have a voice in their school. Be involved. We have tried to have an index that is clear and easy to understand. Parents will also know exactly why this school is not performing well.  They will have clearer information to go in and say, 'How can we help?'''

Find your district and your school here. Once you do, please post about the grade and what you think of it.

The top scoring metro Atlanta high schools were Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, 99.8, Atlanta Public Schools Early College High School at Carver, 96.3, DeKalb School of the Arts, 95.5, DeKalb Early College Academy, 95.2 and Cobb’s Lassiter and Walton, tied with a score of 94.4.

While it had one high school among the top five performers in the metro area, Atlanta also had three high schools among the bottom five performers.  (The other two lowest performers were south Fulton schools.) And as an indication of where APS needs help, the five worse performing metro middle schools are in Atlanta.  (See my blog about getting rid of middle schools.)  But, the five lowest performing elementary schools in the metro area are also APS schools.

Reactions thus far have generally been positive to the new index, which is far more nuanced than the old AYP required by  the federal No Child Left  Behind Act. High schools are measured in 19 areas, while elementary and middle schools are assessed in 14.

"We cannot stress enough that this new index should be used as a student, class, school and system improvement roadmap rather than simply a method to identify challenge areas as failures," said Tracey-Ann Nelson, director of government relations for the Georgia Association of Educators. "It should not be used to systematically abuse and label either individual students or schools and systems. The data should be used to develop a comprehensive and meaningfully improved roadmap that is results driven and actually makes a positive impact. And that is still a question to be answered. What will be the plan to address the identified challenges at all levels?"

I am sharing the overall elementary school grades for these districts as I thought they were a good window into the systems:

Clayton Schools earned a 70.2.

DeKalb Schools earned a 71.2

Fulton Schools earned an 85.7

Gwinnett Schools earned a 93.5.

Cobb Schools earned an 85.4.

Atlanta Schools earned 68.4.

Fayette Schools earned a 94.8

Decatur Schools earned a 93.7

Coweta Schools earned an 85.2

Forsyth Schools earned a 95.6

The official word from DOE:

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge today released the first-ever Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) that measures schools and school districts on an easy-to-understand 100 point scale. The state, as well as each district, will receive a score for each grade band (Elementary, Middle and High School). The average score for Georgia’s elementary schools is 83.4, middle schools is 81.4 and high schools is 72.6.

The CCRPI is the new accountability system that replaces the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurement in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Education granted Georgia’s waiver from NCLB on Feb. 9, 2012.

“I am very pleased that we now have a school improvement measure as in-depth as the College and Career Ready Performance Index,” said Superintendent Barge. “We are no longer bound by the narrow definitions of success found in the Adequate Yearly Progress measurement. Holding schools accountable and rewarding them for the work they do in all subjects and with all students is critical in preparing our students to be college and career ready. The index effectively measures how schools prepare our students for success.”

The CCRPI will help parents and the public better understand how schools are performing in a more comprehensive manner than the pass/fail system previously in place under AYP.

Interpreting the CCRPI results:

The Index includes scores that easily communicate to the public how a school is doing. Each school receives a score out of 100 points, just like what students receive in their classes.

A school and district’s overall score is made up of three major areas: Achievement (70 points possible), Progress (15 points possible) and Achievement Gap (15 points possible). In addition to the three major areas, some schools receive “Challenge Points” to add to their score (up to 10 points). They receive these points if they have a significant number of Economically Disadvantaged students, English Learner students and Students with Disabilities meeting expectations. They also receive points for going beyond the targets of the CCRPI by challenging students to exceed expectations and participate in college and career readiness programs. Beginning in 2013-2014, schools will also receive ratings based on their financial efficiency and school climate, but these ratings will be for the public’s information only and will not factor into the school’s overall CCRPI score.

The Index supports the state’s core educational principles:

•Exemplary student achievement that prepares all for success in college and careers

•Effective teaching and leadership in all schools

•Innovative school improvement, particularly in low performing schools

•Reduction in the duplicative reporting requirements for local school districts

What is college and career readiness?

The Index has been designed around a comprehensive definition of college and career readiness, or the level of achievement required in order for a student to enroll in two- or four-year colleges and universities and technical colleges without remediation, fully prepared for college-level work and careers. This means that all students graduate from high school with both rigorous content knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge.

NCLB Waiver

As part of the waiver, the Georgia Department of Education began identifying Priority Schools, Focus Schools, and Reward Schools. Achievement data from all core content areas and graduation rate data were used to identify these schools. These Priority Schools and Focus Schools replaced Needs Improvement schools. Reward Schools – highest performing and high progress – replaced the Distinguished Schools designation.  

Georgia also identified Alert Schools in three categories:  Subgroup Alert Schools, Subject Alert Schools, and Graduation Alert Schools.  These Alert Schools were identified based on a more detailed evaluation of subgroup performance.  

More Information:

-        Video Overview of CCRPI (Real Player required)

-        PowerPoint presentation of CCRPI

-        Definitions for Priority, Focus, Alert, and Reward Schools
-        Georgia’s NCLB Waiver Submission

Maureen Downey

About Maureen Downey

Maureen Downey is a longtime reporter for the AJC where she has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy for 12 years.

Connect with Maureen Downey on:FacebookTwitter

Send Maureen Downey an email.

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