"Michigan School Report Cards"
The school grades, rankings, and labels released today are primarily based on data from state tests, much of it being data that was an assessment of learning from the 2010-2011 school year. Data on student learning, including state test scores, but also district defined assessment data and classroom based formative achievement measures are critically important to us. We have been and continue to use such data to improve learning for all students, which is our core mission.
The grades, rankings, and labels released today are one way of focusing attention on measures of student and school success defined by the state and federal governments. Our commitment, day in and day out, is to use the best available data to drive success for our students.
The Focus Schools label is new. The state began to share information about it only yesterday. The Focus School designation is not about the level of achievement for students in a school. Rather, it is about the gap between the top 30% of scores and the bottom 30% of scores on state tests. The state test scores used to generate the labels released today were administered in October 2011 to measure learning from the 2010-2011 school year. A gap may be because of the diversity of students served by the school. There may be instructional and curriculum factors contributing to the gap. My understanding is that the purpose of the label is to focus attention on the gap so that such factors are explored. Non-Title I schools (Addams and ROMS) are not subject to sanctions nor any of the state mandates associated with the label.
The report grades assigned to schools by the state are lower this year. This is true across the state. This is primarily the result of the changes in cut scores for MEAP and MME tests. The performance of our students on these tests has continued to improve. However, this year the state changed the score level deemed to be proficient. This change in the “cut score” resulted in fewer students being designated as proficient. State school report card grades are largely driven by the proficiency percentages. So, while our students’ achievement as measured on state tests continues to improve, the change in cut scores results in a lower percent or our students being deemed proficient, which in turns results in lower school grades.
There are over 60 factors that determine whether a school district makes AYP or not. It is binary system, in which a failure to meet standards in one out of sixty factors can result in a not meeting AYP designation. Our failure to make AYP is based on just one of those 60 factors.
When a school has a defined subgroup of over 30 students, each subgroup must meet the same standards as the school overall. This includes making sure that 95% of students in the subgroups are assessed. At Royal Oak High School we had a subgroup with 32 students in it that had 30 students from within the subgroup take the test, which is a 94% rate of assessment. One of the students classified as not assessed did in fact take the test. However, we reported an irregularity in how the student tested, and because we made the report we are obligated to make the student is classified as not having tested.
# # #