California's schools won't be judged only by their test scores, school board votes
lifornia is officially done with telling parents that schools are only as good as their test scores.
The state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to rate schools using an evaluation that includes many more factors — among them academics, graduation rates, college preparedness and the rates at which non-native speakers are learning English.
The evaluations will incorporate scores on new science tests when those tests are ready. Attendance data also will factor in eventually.
But unlike in the past, schools will not get an overall rating. Instead, they’ll receive results on how they’re doing across the new categories, for different groups of students. The results will focus not just on how they’re doing now but how they’ve progressed from year to year.
The vote marks the end of a long philosophical shift away from judging schools using only their test scores, as more people agree that numbers alone can never capture the complexity of classrooms.
In 2013, the Legislature passed the Local Control Funding Formula, which finances education by allotting a certain amount of money for each child, plus extra if that child had special needs.
In Thursday’s vote, the board satisfied a requirement that by Oct. 1, 2016, there be a statewide system for evaluating schools along the lines of the funding formula’s eight priorities, which include parent engagement and school climate. If a school district’s performance and progress in two or more priorities are low, the corresponding county education office is supposed to intervene.
The new system replaces the Academic Performance Index, the state’s test-based accountability system that gave each school a one-number rating.
The shift in direction, officials said, should make the accountability process more broadly useful. “There are many functions of accountability, not just finding schools and districts that are not meeting performance standards,” board President Mike Kirst said.
More than 100 parents, students and others spoke about the plan before the board voted. Laurie Benn, who lives in Altadena, left her house at 4 a.m. Thursday to fly to Sacramento.
The mother of seven, whose children attend school in Pasadena, said she made the trip because she needed the board to know the type of information she is looking for as she tries to determine which schools are best.
The state board discussed presenting an array of factors — test scores, suspension rates. But Benn wanted something else: a single rating for each school, which, she said, “would give me an idea of which school I would like to look at” before she investigated further.
Benn came with Parent Revolution, a group that organizes parents to take control over who leads those schools deemed to be failing. Determining which schools fit this bill might be more difficult with the new less clear-cut, many-layered assessments.
Advocates and some parents hope that the decision about whether to use a single rating or not isn’t necessarily final. They contend that the board will have to revisit accountability California's schools won't be judged only by their test scores, school board votes - LA Times:
Big Education Ape: State board poised to take new direction in school accountability | EdSource - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/09/state-board-poised-to-take-new.htmlBig Education Ape: Parent Revolution: Another Fiasco for Reformers | Diane Ravitch's blog - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/09/parent-revolution-another-fiasco-for.html