The results of the latest ranking of schools have been released and once again they show what other rankings showed: Top-performing schools perform like top-performing schools and low-performing schools perform like low-performing schools.
The new ranking — the College and Career Ready Performance Index — is brought to you by the state education department. This system ranks every school and its district across Georgia, including elementary schools, based on such factors as student test scores, academic progress and, as the MDJ reported, “efforts to close the achievement gap between high-income and low-income students.”
CCRPI is “a new statewide accountability system based on 2012 school year data” and launched in 2013 as a “study year,” according to the state education department’s website. Feedback from the department’s “partners and the public” led to revising and refining the CCRPI “to make it a more meaningful report.”
Such changes as Exceeding the Bar points are now included in district scores. Also “total possible Progress points have been increased from 15 to 25 points, and the total possible Achievement points have been decreased from 70 to 60 points.’” This places “a greater emphasis on student growth in a school year.”
Also: “The rubric for the Gap Size portion of the Achievement Gap component was adjusted to increase rigor.” The AG compares achievement of a school’s bottom 25 percent of students with the state average on statewide standardized tests and includes two measures: “Gap Size and Gap Change,” and so on. Achievement indicators for high schools included this change: “The four-year graduation rate is now weighted at 2/3 of possible graduation points, and the five-year graduation rate is weighted at 1/3 of possible graduation points … The change reflects the state’s priority that students should graduate high school in four years while ensuring that schools still receive points for students who require an extra year to graduate.” There’s a lot more stuff like this on the website.
The CCRPI is described there as “a comprehensive school improvement, accountability, and communication platform for all educational stakeholders that will promote college and career readiness for all Georgia public school students.” It’s not clear how this relates to elementary schools, and I must join with Cobb school board chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci in taking a skeptical view of this.
She told the MDJ, “I know that this is somehow supposed to be an indicator for college and career readiness, but to be honest with you, I don’t think that it is.” For one thing, she made the point that trying to determine if elementary school kids will be ready for college or careers when they graduate high school might be a tad early. She asked a rhetorical question: “How many 18- or 19-year-olds do you know that don’t know what they want to do?” She could have added, “Let alone 7- or 8-year-olds.”
Now that we have the latest ranking, I will make a bold prediction: Next year’s rankings will show top-performing schools and low-performing schools performing about as usual.