Accountability workgroup completes recommendations for school accountability system

The Accountability System Workgroup (ASW) spent a full day together on June 22, working to complete their recommendations to Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal.

The meeting allowed members to come together over some of the final details of the ESSA Consolidated Plan, including recommendations for English Learners (ELs) and the weighting of performance measures in Washington’s school accountability index.

Comprehensive and Targeted Support Framework

In order to measure school performance and identify schools who need further support, the ASW voted to recommend that each school’s performance be measured on a 1–10 scale for each measure. These scales will be frozen, allowing schools to move around as they make progress between years. The multiple measures that make up this performance framework will be calculated for both the school as a whole and for all subgroups, which will unmask student subgroups. The lowest performing five percent of schools will be identified for comprehensive support, and any student subgroup that falls below the five percent threshold will be identified for targeted support, separate from comprehensive support.

English Learner Progress Measure

In consultation with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the ASW decided to recommend that English Learner Progress be measured as the percentage of students who are advancing in at least one of the domains of language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, without backsliding in any other. They also recommended that later, when enough data has been generated from language assessments (ELPA21), the ASW reassess student and school patterns of progress.

English Learner Progress: Targeted Support

The ASW voted to include English Learners’ Progress as a subgroup for targeted support. The group recognized that while EL progress is counted as a measure in a schools’ comprehensive calculation, EL students could be missed if they were not counted as their own subgroup. The ASW recommended that the lowest performing five percent of schools on the English Learner indicator be identified for targeted assistance if they have not already been identified for comprehensive support.

English Learner Progress & English Language Arts (ELA) Weighting

For schools with small EL populations, a small number of struggling students could disproportionately affect a schools’ overall performance. The ASW recommended that as a remedy, OSPI review the possibility of incorporating different ELA proficiency and EL Progress weights based on a school’s population. This review would be done when three years of data is available.

Extended Graduation Rate

The ASW also voted on a recommendation of how to calculate extended graduation rates. They decided that the four-year graduation rate would be the base for the Graduation Rate indicator. However, schools that have relatively high increases in graduation rates for fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-year students would move up on the scale.

School Quality and Student Success (SQSS) Measures

Finally, the ASW’s votes on SQSS measure definitions as provided by the TAC are as follows:

  • They recommended 9th Graders on Track be defined as the percentage of ninth grade students passing all attempted credits where credits attempted is greater than zero.
  • They voted down a recommendation that Chronic Absenteeism be defined as the percentage of students who miss significant “seat time,” defined as two full -day absences in a 30-day period. The group was concerned that students may be classified as chronically absent while participating in school/learning activities.
  • Finally, the ASW recommended the Dual Credit indicator be defined as the percentage of students who completed a dual credit course or program, to include Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College in the High School, Cambridge, Running Start, or Tech Prep.

For more details on the ASW’s final meeting, view the meeting minutes on the OSPI website.

All of the recommendations made by the ASW in this meeting were presented to Superintendent Reykdal for his consideration. Approved recommendations were written into the plan, which was released for 30 days of public feedback on Aug. 7. Washington’s ESSA Consolidated Plan will be submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Education on Sept. 18, 2017.