New school scoring system a big change

jmink@macon.comMay 7, 2013 

Georgia parents now have another report card to review, but this time it includes scores on the schools their children attend.

State education officials released the scores Tuesday under Georgia’s new accountability system, dubbed the College and Career Ready Performance Index. It’s a shift from the way schools have been evaluated for the past decade, and it is the first time schools have been graded in such detail.

Overall, school administrators applaud the new system, saying it’s fair and more helpful than the previous system under the No Child Left Behind law.

“I’m pleased with the CCRPI in general,” said Eric Payne, Houston County’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “It’s a better way to give an in-depth look at effectiveness and the school improvement measures that we have. Before, it was pretty much pass/fail.”

The index is used to grade schools on a 100-point scale, much like the way students are graded. Schools are graded in three major categories: achievement, progress and achievement gap. In the midstate region, some schools received nearly perfect scores for the 2011-2012 school year, while others failed.

State tests still play a vital role. In fact, a majority of a school’s grade is based directly on raw test scores, but schools also are graded on graduation rates, attendance records, school climate and other measures.

Unlike the old system, schools receive points in different categories and a specific numerical grade. For example, one of the area’s highest-scoring schools, Quail Run Elementary School, received 66.5 out of 70 points in achievement. It got 12.4 out of 15 points in progress, 15 out of 15 points in achievement gap and a bonus 5.2 points for the number of students who speak English as a second language, have disabilities or come from low-income households. Quail Run’s total score was 99.1, which would be a high A on a student report card.

Under the previous system, schools simply received a pass or fail ranking based on test scores.

The new report card should show schools where they need to improve and how much they need to improve, something the old system lacked, state School Superintendent John Barge said.

“Not only will the people in the schools know, but the district will know and the state will know where specifically they are not performing well,” he said during a phone conference Tuesday. “This is going to paint a very clear picture for schools and districts and communities.”

And while a bulk of a school’s score still is based on test scores, schools are held accountable for other factors, which should lessen the pressure on teachers when it comes to testing, Barge said.

Even though school officials are reviewing the new information for the first time, it seems that the progress reports will be particularly helpful, Houston County Superintendent Robin Hines said. Administrators, teachers and parents can see how much their schools have improved and how much work needs to be done, he said.

“We can improve in all areas and that is certainly our goal,” Hines said. “As we become accustomed and familiar with the measurements ourselves, it will allow us to do a better job.”

Schools are expected to improve, Barge said, but how much improvement will depend on future results. Another report will be released this fall for the 2012-2013 school year, which will provide an initial opportunity to compare school scores from the previous year, Barge said.

“It will be interesting to see how our schools perform next year,” Payne said. “Now, we will break it down and look at the individual schools and at improvements.”

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service