Does Georgia’s CCRPI rating system need CPR? 

Governor and superintendent raise concerns about fairness of test-driven school grades

I am still not a fan of the College and Career Ready Performance Index, which is overly data-laden and never seemed to catch on with Georgia parents. 

Today’s release of the 2019 CCRPI scores shows the governor has his own reservations about our complex and comprehensive system that awards schools a numerical grade on a 100-point scale. A school earns a grade that parents are supposed to be able to quickly understand since they know from their kids what a 75 or 95 grade signifies. The challenge is understanding all the data points that go into the grade.

The state released 2019 CCRPI scores this morning, revealing average scores declined in elementary and middle school performance and rose in high school. Middle schools saw the biggest slippage, from a statewide average score of 76.2 to 72.1.

It’s hard to know how seriously to take these fluctuations since so many factors play a role. Nor does the total picture make sense. Our middle schools are flagging, yet our high school students are graduating students in record numbers, as Gov. Brian Kemp noted in his statement:

I am a strong supporter of holding schools accountable for increased student achievement, but in a year when we’ve seen nearly across-the-board increases in national test scores and graduation rates as well as Georgia Milestones scores, seeing the CCRPI show a decrease instead raises concerns about the measurement used to determine school and district achievement.

I believe that we need to engage in a thoughtful process to create an accountability system that paints a true picture of what’s happening in a school. With unprecedented alignment between my office, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, and the Department of Education, I’m confident that we’re finally in the right position to make long-needed refinements to this measurement.

The CCRPI was a good faith effort to broaden what goes into assessing a school. I would agree with Kemp that we ought to reconsider how we judge schools and try to figure out something that is both fair to schools and useful to parents.

When the state unveiled CCRPI in 2014, Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield made a statement that bears repeating today: 

CCRPI is a work in progress; it will improve over time. Our district believes in continuous improvement, and we constantly use data to inform our practice. However, ensuring the data used is fair, consistent, and measures the activities that lead to students' future success is paramount. As this occurs, and our state takes bold steps to recognize the myriad of ways students and schools can demonstrate their learning, we will develop an instrument that provides valuable insight for teachers, parents and our community.

Here is the official statement from DOE:

CCRPI scores are based on five separate components – Content Mastery, Progress, Closing Gaps, Readiness and, for high schools, Graduation Rate. While the state averages for Content Mastery, Readiness, and Graduation Rate increased for elementary, middle, and high school, there were slight decreases in Progress scores, and larger decreases in the Closing Gaps component – which requires schools to meet elevated achievement targets for all subgroups.

Together, Governor Brian P. Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods acknowledged that work still needs to be done to support students and improve student achievement, while expressing a need to refine the CCRPI measurement to ensure it is a fair and stable measure that accurately captures school performance.

Superintendent Woods emphasized his commitment to work with state and federal partners to reduce the weight of standardized test scores in the CCRPI and move toward a wider and deeper measurement of performance that reflects the true mission of K-12 public schools: preparing students for life.

“As we aim to lessen the number of high-stakes tests our students take, we need the weight of testing in CCRPI to reflect the same priorities,” Superintendent Woods said. “Georgia’s parents, taxpayers, students, and educators deserve a fair measurement of performance that lifts up, rather than labels, our public schools. Working with Governor Kemp and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, the time is right to make that shift.”

“Georgia’s public education system continues to receive both national and state-level recognition for its K-12 performance,” said Dr. Curtis Jones, the current National Superintendent of the Year and Superintendent of the Bibb County School District. “Now the State School Superintendent and the Governor’s Office are working hand-in-hand alongside local districts, which finally affords us the opportunity to develop a measurement that fully captures the success we’re seeing across multiple metrics.”

 

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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.
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