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Educators' opinions mixed on new accountability system

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Updated: 4/24/2013 11:05 am
Under the state's accountability system, schools are rated 'unacceptable', 'acceptable', 'recognized' and 'exemplary'.  That measure will change in August to a simply "met" or "not met" standard.

On Tuesday a new way of measuring school performance was unveiled by the state. It's supposed to narrow some of the academic gaps that exist between different demographic groups.

Frenship school district is classified as recognized, the second-highest rating on a four step ladder.

Superintendent David Vroonland said one flaw in the current system is that it's the low-performing groups that affect the overall rating the most. He hopes the new system will achieve more accurate results, but he questions the clarity.

"If you put an A, or B or C rating which is the intention of this system and behind that A, B or C are four different indexes with each their own performance criteria, that's a lot of information you have to figure out how to relay to the public in a way that makes sense," Vroonland said. "And frankly I'm not certain we'll be able to do that very effectively."

Assistant Superintendent of Lubbock-Cooper ISD Macy Satterwhite agreed. She hopes the new rating system can be understood by parents.

"There'll be a new education process to get them used to 'What is an 'A' school and what does that mean? What is a 'B' school and what does that really mean? And those things have not been released to us exactly what's going to determine what makes an A, B or C school," Satterwhite said. "And so it'll be a while education process for us, as well as the parents and the stakeholders that we serve."

The 2014 accountability system considers four areas:
  • Student Achievement - represents performance across all subjects, on both general and alternative assessments.
  • Student Progress - provides an opportunity for diverse campuses to show improvements made of overall achievement levels.
  • Closing Performance Gaps - emphasizes advanced academic achievement of the economically disadvantaged student group and lowest performing race-ethnicity student groups at each campus or district.
  • Post-secondary readiness-which includes two measures: passing the STAAR test and measuring graduation rates.

Educators will get to learn the new system over the course of a year and a half. Lubbock ISD Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza said the new system will create a more comprehensive picture.

 "It's getting away from death by single cell, which we think is a good thing," Garza said. "It has a progress measure which we also think is a good thing so I think it's definitely headed in the right direction in terms of some of the changes that we'd anticipated. Yet there's still a lot to learn about the new accountability system and certainly the implications for our schools is something we're very keenly interested in learning about."

The new system will begin the 2014 academic school year.
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Liberty Seeker - 4/24/2013 12:22 AM
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I would assume that Unsatisfactory is an "F"
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