One in five schools failing to meet performance goals

One in five schools failing to meet performance goals

(Calif.) For the first time in almost three years, state officials have released an overall snapshot of how well California schools are doing after a massive restructuring that included new content standards and a new testing format.

The takeaway?

More than 2,000 schools—or about 20 percent statewide—are doing poorly. And that number could grow once the California State Board of Education draws the final lines separating success from failure.

The sobering assessment is buried deep in a draft plan required by states detailing how each intends to meet new requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act—a document that will be reviewed publicly this week by the state board.

One of the required elements states must include in the ESSA plans is a baseline for student performance in reading and math, from which overall academic performance will be graded from here going forward.

California’s new evaluation system, only made available to the public last month, utilizes a color-coded matrix that is driven by five levels of performance that would be marked over time. Ultimately, the system would have 25 indicators.

As designed, there are five evaluation categories: two levels at the top—green and blue; and two levels at the bottom—orange and red. Yellow represents the middle.

Currently, based on the ESSA report, almost 20 percent of the schools are in the lowest categories: 6.3 percent in red (lowest) and 12.8 percent in orange (second-lowest).

Almost half, 46.4 percent are currently in the yellow category.

And only about a third of the state’s schools were found to be in the two top performance categories: 19.8 percent in green and 14.6 percent in blue (the highest category).

A similar break down comes when just math scores are considered: 22.3 percent at the bottom (8.1 percent of schools are in red and 14.2 percent are in orange).

The middle range captured 44.2 percent of schools.

And a little more than a third ranked in the two top categories: 19.9 percent in green and 13.5 percent in blue.

Because of the dramatic changes in public education, both on the federal and state sides, pinpointing what these new performance numbers means is problematic.

One of the major objectives of ESSA was the elimination of virtually all federal performance mandates on schools. That said, the new law does require states to develop their own accountability system that must include test scores, high school graduation rates and progress in improving proficiency among English learners.

In the draft ESSA report, California officials noted that the state board has yet to establish performance goals for schools, which they will probably undertake in the fall.

Meanwhile, staff told federal officials, that the top two colors (green and blue) would likely be used as the statewide performance goal of all schools.