C-A board looks at state accountability scorecard

FLINT TWP. — The Carman- Ainsworth School District rates a yellow overall, as do the elementary and middle schools. But the high school is a code orange and the alternative education program is in the red zone.

The Carman-Ainsworth Board of Education took its first look at a new color-coded Accountability Scorecard released Aug. 20 for districts and schools statewide by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

Districts and individual schools are given one of five colors based on points accumulated by meeting goals or showing improvement.

Green is the highest color assigned and red is the lowest. Lime green, yellow and orange are the midpoint colors.

C-A rated yellow overall as a district as did most individual buildings except the high school which rated orange and the Bendle/Carman Ainsworth Alternative Education Program which rated red.

Yellow indicating attainment of at least 60 percent to 69 percent of possible points, orange 50-59 percent of possible point and red less than 50 percent.

Tunnicliff spent an hour guiding the board through the various criteria and interpretations that affected points and scoring.

The orange rating for the high school, for example, is skewed by lower performance levels of some subgroups assessed. One of those subgroups is alternative education which is factored into C-A scoring even though its students are shared with other districts. Also performance levels of students with disabilities rated in the red zone which affected the overall score.

Lower performance levels by some subgroups in tougher subjects like math and science also resulted fewer points and thus a lower score.

The School Accountability Scorecard is being released for the first time as the result of Michigan receiving a flexibility waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act from the U.S. Department of Education that had set a 100 percent proficiency benchmark for 2014.. Under that system, every school in Michigan would have been rated as not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Tunnicliff said. The Accountability Scorecard replaces AYP which will no longer be reported.

Rather than expecting all schools to meet the same academic goals, Michigan has set individual goals for each school and district with the expectation of incremental growth to reach 85 percent proficiency levels by the 2021-22 school year.

A total of 3,397 schools and 873 districts received scorecards. About three percent of schools received a green scorecard, 15 percent received red scorecards and 82 percent received yellow, orange or lime green scorecards.

The new system also holds schools accountable for the academic growth of their lowest-performing 30 percent of students.

MDE also released reports for its Top to Bottom ranking and the list of Reward, Focus and Priority Schools.

This year, 342 schools located in 205 districts have been designated as Reward Schools, which includes the top five percent of schools on the annual Top-to-Bottom ranking of all Michigan schools, the top five percent of schools making the greatest academic progress over the previous four years and “Beating the Odds” schools, which are either outperforming their expected ranking or outperforming similar schools.

MDE also named 349 Focus Schools and 137 Priority Schools. Focus Schools, located in 185 different school districts, are the 10 percent of schools with the widest achievement gaps between highest and lowest performing students. This gap may occur even in schools whose overall performance is relatively high compared to the state average.

Priority schools (previously known as Persistently Lowest Achieving schools) are located in 60 school districts. State law requires that they be placed under the authority of the State School Reform Office and required to implement an intervention model to improve student achievement.

C-A’s Dillon Elementary was cited as a Focus School and was the only school in the district on the list.

Tunnicliff noted that this is the same school MDE cited in 2010-11 as a “Beating the Odds” Rewards school.

As a result of the Focus rating, the state will send an intervention specialist to Dillon to help establish an improvement program. Tunnicliff said they plan to use what they learn at all elementary buildings to narrow the performance gap between the lowest level students and the top level.

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