Saturday, September 24, 2016

Secretary of State Releases Flawed Audit of Smarter Balanced Asssessment

On September 14, the Oregon Secretary of State's office released its long awaited audit of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, as required by House Bill 2713. The audit appears to have relied heavily on information provided by the Oregon Department of Education and no serious effort at asking school districts to report their actual expenditures of time and money appears to have been made.

A member of Eugene Citizens Alliance for Public Education (CAPE)  has written a letter to the members of the Oregon House and Senate Education Committees which we share here. We urge you to write letters to these committees in the House and Senate  as well as your own state representatives. Watch for more to come from CAPE, Oregon Save Our Schools, and other grassroots organizations regarding concerns with the audit. Find the audit itself here.

The results of the so-called audit of Oregon's standardized tests are bogus.  The ODE's report does not fulfill the purpose of House Bill 2713.

1.  Contrary to the report, the state spent $27,275,803 on Smarter Balanced in July 2014, according to its contract titled "State of Oregon Amendment 1 to Personal/Professional Services Contract #9573 Information Technology System Acquisition Web-Based Computer-Adaptive Testing System".  Yet the audit claims spending less than $11 million.

2. No one can find a district that was asked to record all its own expenditures, such as new or updated computers, increased bandwidth, extra substitute teachers, additional testing coordinators, etc.  Instead, the audit relied on vague generalities.  It should be easy to compare expenditures before and after Smarter Balanced testing began with regard to specifics like hiring substitute teachers, etc.

3. "Boots on the ground" experiences were not taken seriously enough.  The tables for test length are taken straight from SBAC manuals without noting that teachers consistently report test administration requiring 10-12 hours, as well as fifteen or more hours for SPED and ELL students.  SBAC's own manuals state that their time tables don't include individual log-in, breaks, re-booting and various snafus.

4.  This "audit" admits to not addressing issues of content.  Yet the quality of test content should be of supreme importance!  They don't address that juniors are tested on college level material or that third-graders are asked questions appropriate for middle-school.  Note: analyzing online sample materials should avoid any copyright infringement.

The first online practice test I grabbed, which happens to be for third graders, features typos, punctuation errors, faulty logic and material that isn't age appropriate.  "Which of the following sentences has an error in grammar usage?"  "the bestbeginning"  ...

For juniors, reading samples from the Smarter Balanced Document titled "Grade 11 ELA Item Specification C2 T9" use highly arcane and specialized vocabulary.  Yet there is no glossary because somehow SBAC considers these terms general knowledge.  See if you agree:

SBAC itself ranks this passage from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (sic) with a Flesch-Kincaid score of 13.7 - suitable for college sophomores!!!  

mangroves ... riverine ...
Estuarine salt marshes can sequester carbon...
various geologic ... morphology...
leaving sessile organisms alternately inundated


From "Lost in the Bowels of the Earth", by Jules Verne:

following the caprice of another incline...
this impracticable problem...
Konigstrasse", Grauben ...  M. Fridrikssen, Snaefell 


From the Hound of Baskervilles:

assumed his most impassive and judicial expression ...
remain untenanted ...
I had descended from my gig ...
however chimerical 


Applicable documents, sample items and other states' analyses of SBAC, as well as the OEA's teacher survey regarding testing are available to the public online.  However, the Oregon Department of Education does not seem to have availed itself of such.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Letter to Oregon Education Leaders: Call to Action

Oregon Save Our Schools has sent the following letter to Oregon's superintendents and local school board chairs. As you will read, the letter has also been sent to our state level leaders. If you would like to support this letter, please let your local leaders know you support it by contacting them. You may want to link this blog post.  You should also contact the House and Senate Education committees, the Oregon State Board of Education and Oregon's Chief Education Officer. You can also contact your own legislators.



Dear Oregon Education Leaders, 

As ESSA is rolling out in our state, we urge you to take a stand against the past practices begun with NCLB that created a test and punish accountability system. This system was in place for 15 years and did nothing to improve our schools. 

We have read Salam Noor’s letter to Secretary John King commenting on the proposed ESSA regulations. While we appreciate Dr. Noor’s requests to drop the requirement King proposes for a single summative rating in favor of a dashboard approach to measures of school success as well as his request to allow states to determine, with community input, what measures should appear on state report cards, we wish that his to allow states the time to develop and incorporate “innovative measures of accountability” were a little more direct. 

What we believe that Dr. Noor is trying to get at with the “innovative measures” comment is the fact that Smarter Balanced has been an utter and abject failure, as has every other standardized measure of achievement, at truly measuring how well schools serve our students and communities. Smarter Balanced in fact represented a doubling down on reliance on a very limited measure of student success and achievement, as well as school quality, with a singular focus on test scores in two subject areas. We wish that Dr. Noor had been more direct in condemning not only Smarter Balanced, but the entire failed system of using test scores to drive school improvement and had stated that Oregonians intend to work together to create a new path that uses assessment FOR learning and demands a system of accountability related to inputs in at least equal measure to outcomes. 

We would like to share with you the statement that the Vermont State Board of Education sent to Secretary King because we believe that this is what true education leaders should be shouting to the rooftops: the test and punish system has failed. Tweaking it won’t fix it. It is time to support and fund a well rounded education for ALL students. The gap that must be closed is an opportunity gap, not an achievement gap. Further, requiring all children to meet some sort of time table to achieve a certain number of points on a scale, particularly when there is no attempt to equalize support to those children let alone provide extra support to children who need more, is nothing less than a Sisyphean task that dooms our schools and many individual children to a perpetual label of “failing”. This is why Oregon citizens worked together to pass an Opt Out bill: we refuse to condemn our children to this dysfunctional cycle. We are quite stunned that this was not mentioned in Dr. Noor’s letter. We hope that the will of the people of our state will be supported by our state officials, regardless of any decisions that ultimately come out of Washington, DC. 

It is time to demand clearly and resoundingly a system that puts student assessment and education plans in the hands of professional educators and families and moves away from one-size-fits-all arbitrary timelines and cut scores. It is time to end what the Vermont Board referred to as the “commoditization” of our schools. It is also time to demand that all students are provided with adequate and equitable resources and that local communities are allowed to select and teach curriculum that is culturally responsive to the needs of each community. This is the only way that each child can become his or her best self. It is our job as adults who care for them to demand that.


Oregon Save Our Schools







Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Corporate Backed Stand for Children Should Take a Back Seat in ESSA Process

I woke up the other day to see that one of my favorite bloggers, Peter Greene at Curmdugucation, had written a blog post about Stand for Children. As an Oregon teacher who has worked to improve schools and change out of school factors to help all children succeed since I started teaching here in 1994, Stand for Children is a group I’m very familiar with. I first heard about them when my youngest daughter, who is now 21 years old, was in fourth grade. The class sizes at her school had ballooned to 30 and up (a sad state many, if not most, Oregon classrooms remain in today). Back then, Stand was out there advocating for things like smaller class size and adequate funding and better access to health services. My dad (from here on referred to by name: Rex Hagans) heard about the group and he got involved; so involved that eventually he came to work with their state leadership along with his friend, Tom Olsen. Rex and Tom were both recently retired educators of the PhD variety who had worked at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratories in Portland. Back then we all lived in Canby, a smallish town near Portland. 

Soon after Rex and Tom started working with Stand, they created a local chapter in Canby and I got more involved. With Rex and Tom as Stand liaisons, I worked with Stand and my school district to help get a dental screening program going there. Eventually, I became a Stand member and then chapter leader in Canby. It was right about then that things went wrong. 

I heard that there was a new head of Oregon Stand (I now know her name was Sue Levin). Soon after that, there started to be an uncomfortable push coming from the top of the organization down, asking us to have conversations with people about “teacher quality”. It was a big change in focus from fighting for funding and against poverty. I, as a teacher and proud member of my union, became bothered by some of what I was hearing because it sounded as if someone suddenly thought school funding and poverty were not the problems with schools, but that my colleagues and I were. There was a day when the Stand rep who came from Salem met with us and I told her that I could no longer continue working with them for that reason. I resigned from the group. Many other people at the meeting also quit the local chapter when I spoke up that day. 

Later, Tom Olsen quit the state leadership group. And a soon after that Rex Hagans was asked not to return to his volunteer position at the state level due to his refusal to go along quietly with the new direction of the organization. We were all very disillusioned. Then one day I read this post from Susan Barrett on Parents Across America blog. It sounded exactly like what had happened to us! I told Rex and Tom about it and the next thing I knew, Tom Olsen had written a blog post as well.  Those blog posts brought Tom, Rex, and Susan together to organize the first meeting of what came to be Oregon Save Our Schools. People showed up from all over the Portland area, mostly former Stand members who had had similar experiences and had connected through those blog posts. When I go back and look at those posts now, I see names of people I didn’t know before making comments and connecting to organize: people that I have now worked with for years. We were a group of disillusioned Stand for Children members who recognized that we still needed to fight for school funding and had come to realize that we needed to fight corporate take over of our schools as well. 

What was happening in Oregon and around the country at that time was a result of Stand for Children’s evolving funding sources, what Adam Sanchez and Ken Libby called in a 2011 article in Rethinking Schools “an enormous influx of corporate cash” that drove a change in their agenda.  Frequently over the years since then, as we at OSOS have fought corporate driven policies in Salem we have found ourselves standing on the opposite side of issues against Stand for Children.

At one time, Stand for Children held vast sway in the office of Governor John Kitzhaber, who resigned amid accusations of influence peddling.  And they are still a fairly mighty presence in Salem today in spite of the fact that Kitzhaber, for whom Stand became his go to education advisors, has been gone for over a year. Though their influence has dwindled somewhat, a representative of Stand for Children sits on the Accountability Workgroup, one of the Oregon Department of Education’s four ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) workgroups which are developing recommendations around the new education law. More concerning is that  Toya Fick, Executive Director of Oregon Stand for Children, also sits on the Oregon Department of Education Advisory Committee, the committee which will finalize Oregon’s regulations on how to proceed following the recent passage of ESSA after hearing from all four work groups.  


We at Oregon Save Our Schools have always felt that many aspects of the corporate reform agenda are harmful and a violation of students’ civil rights. Stand for Children has maintained that they are defenders of those same rights. But it appears Stand for Children has run into a bit of a snag in its efforts to represent itself as a civil rights champion. On July 29th, news broke that the national NAACP convention had voted in a resolution on charter schools that, among other things, condemns privatization of public schools as well as opposes publicly subsidized funding of charters. This came just one day after a story out of Washington state where Stand for Children has spent over $100,000 just this month to defeat Washington Supreme Court Justice Barbara Madsen who wrote the court’s opinion declaring publicly funded private charters unconstitutional in Washington. And according to Mercedes Schneider, they stand ready to spend a lot more.

Oregon Save Our Schools is a true grassroots movement. We have no budget and no funding source. We rely on volunteers and an occasional passing of the hat to fund events or purchase materials. I think it’s time to stop pretending Stand for Children is a local or “grassroots” group. I’m tired of hearing them called “community partners” by state officials. They are a lobbying group for national and multinational corporate interests, working in states across the country and funded principally by out of state billionaires’ groups like the Gates and Walton foundations. We at Oregon Save Our Schools have known for a long time that they do not “stand for children”. When it comes to running Oregon’s schools, Stand should take a seat, and not a seat at the head of the table. ESSA is supposed to return control of our schools to the people of the state. Maybe what Stand really needs to do is take a hike. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

ESSA Workgroups Meet: Educator Effectiveness

This is the last of four posts regarding the ESSA workgroups meeting in Oregon to create Oregon's new system under ESSA. These are summaries released from each workgroup. Today we post the School Improvement Workgroup's recap/next steps. Find more information about this workgroup here.  Read about the other workgroups here: 

Accountability Work Group
School and District Improvement Work Group
Standards and Assessment Work Group

Educator Effectiveness:
Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

WHERE WEVE BEEN
The Educator Effectiveness Workgroup has been charged with the task of identifying possible supports for districts to better ensure that every Oregon student is taught by a high quality, effective teacher and every Oregon school building is led by a high quality, effective educational leader. This includes discussions regarding the implications of Senate Bill 290, considerations for improving how state and local districts might better determine the effectiveness of educators, as well as how best to infuse elements of the Equitable Access to Excellent Educators Plan into
Oregon’s State Plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Work Group Progress
The Educator Effectiveness Workgroup holds a shared vision of ensuring the all students, particularly our most vulnerable students, including those with disabilities, language learners, and historically underserved, are taught by an effective teacher. The workgroup examined the current reality within educator effectiveness in Oregon, including the:

  •   *Unintended consequences of Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirements and how it has impacted schools’ and districts’ ability to serve all students
  •   *Inconsistent implementation of educator evaluations across districts
  •   *Limited resources and support for educators to use and implement a meaningful
       evaluation tool

    Similarly, the Educator Effectiveness Workgroup has also identified several key aspects of an improved evaluation system under the new ESSA legislation:
  • -  Shifting from a model of compliance to a system focused on growth for all schools and districts that is rooted in asset-based language, rather than the current deficit-based approach
  • -  Considering the use of formative assessments as a value-added component that guides continuous improvement, thus better allowing differentiated support for educators and students
  • -  Strengthening the relationships between teachers and administrators through collaborative goal setting that is based on useful and timely student information

    Ongoing Discussions
    To further address the shared challenges above, the workgroup will continue to focus on the Equitable Access to Excellent Educators Plan and Senate Bill 290, including:

  • *Exploring ways to define an “excellent educator” and “excellent school leader” without the     constraints of HQT (Highly Qualified Teacher)
  • *Discussing the root causes of inequitable access to excellent educators and school leaders for traditionally marginalized student populations and the strategies identified in the plan to address them. (Human Capital Management, Ongoing Professional Learning, and Monitoring Teacher and Principal Preparation)
  • *How might state tests play a role, if at all, in Growth Goals for evaluations
  • *Benefits of the Evaluation Matrix, drawbacks of the Matrix, if not the Matrix, then what?

WHERE WERE GOING
At our May 18
th meeting, the Educator Effectiveness Workgroup will continue to engage in discussions focusing on the following areas for both short- and long-term actions:
  • *Complete a more comprehensive analysis of SB 290, specifically focusing on evidence of    the measures for Professional Practice, Professional Responsibilities, and Student Learning and Growth.
  • *Discuss long-term modifications to OARs Further review and recommendations regarding the use of the Equitable Access to Excellent Educators plan within the ESSA plan.

    At our June 28th meeting, the Educator Effectiveness Workgroup will review the definition of “licensed educator” in Oregon and finalize considerations surrounding the Equitable Access to Education plan and Senate Bill 290. 



Thursday, May 26, 2016

ESSA Workgroups Meet: School Improvement

This is the third of four posts regarding the ESSA workgroups meeting in Oregon to create Oregon's new system under ESSA. These are summaries released from each workgroup. Today we post the School Improvement Workgroup's recap/next steps. Find more information about this workgroup here.   More on the fourth workgroup to come.

School Improvement Workgroup:
Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
WHERE WEVE BEEN
The School Improvement Workgroup has been charged with developing a proposed framework of supports for schools identified for comprehensive and targeted improvement as well as developing a proposed framework for determining how and when schools will exit identification. To accomplish this, the group established a common understanding of the
various stages of Oregon’s current improvement cycle and the impact on schools currently undergoing improvement efforts.

Work Group Progress
The workgroup has developed strong frames around the need to remove the stigmatization of schools identified for additional supports. This requires balancing a level of flexibility and differentiated approaches that embrace the various contexts for schools and districts as well as holding parties accountable for significant and sustained improvement.

There is also consensus within the group that “school improvement” should not be limited to Federally mandated requirements and that there is great opportunity to go above and beyond the minimum.

Ongoing Discussions
At the April 26
th meeting, workgroup members engaged in discussions focusing on the four major areas of the improvement cycle and discussed guiding principles that might be incorporated into Oregon’s next iteration of its improvement process. Each major area was framed by essential questions and considerations.

Identification: How might schools be identified for improvement supports? Guiding principles discussed were:
  •   *Inclusion of data that include measures of teacher quality / effectiveness
  •   *Multiple measures of student achievement / academic performance (not just Smarter
       Balanced)
  •   *Broader data around school climate and culture (TELL or similar collection)
  •   *Measures that compare how schools / districts serve and support underserved student
       populations, noting the current model compares academic peers, but does not compare
       similar underserved student populations in the same manner
  •   *School-level measures that lead to district identification for improvement supports

    Diagnostic Review and Planning: What role might ODE / LEAs play in the diagnostic review / needs assessment? What are the opportunities and barriers in conducting high- quality, in-depth diagnostic reviews? How might stakeholders be meaningfully and productively engaged in the review process? Guiding principles discussed were:
  •   
  •  *Diagnostic review is the key to success more authentic review yields better plans
  •   *Stronger input and engagement from teachers in planning and implementation
  •   *More engagement from community stakeholders throughout the process
  •   *More engagement from school boards and superintendents including active participation
       in the review, planning and monitoring processes
  •   *Alignment of state expectations, district plans and actions, and school plans and actions

Monitoring: What (additional) data might be used for in-year / implementation monitoring? What resources might be developed in order to support improvement efforts? How might plans be evaluated and approved on an annual basis? Guiding principles discussed were:
  •   *Emphasis on district and school interim monitoring plans
  •   *Differentiated financial resources based on monitoring routines and outcomes
  •   *Reduce paperwork / burden to submit updates and reports
  •   *Review of systems working together: teacher observation / evaluation assessment
       RTI / PBIS climate / culture
  •   *Stronger development of implementation evidence – What will this look like when it’s
    working?

    Exit Criteria and Progressive Interventions: How might we define improvement? Does exit criteria need to mirror identification criteria? Can schools exit improvement status before the end of the identification period? How might we support sustained improvement? What might progressive interventions include for schools who do not demonstrate improvement? Guiding principles discussed were:
  •   *The desire to “exit” is based on the punitive / shaming stigma; if there’s no stigma,       districts / schools might not want to exit
  •   *Schools who demonstrate improvement should be able to exit with continued financial supports
  •   *The notion of “what gets you in, gets you out” works with some added flexibility / adaptability
  •   *Schools should create portfolios of evidence to establish improvement and change
  •   *Broader indicators than identification test scores might get a school identified, but
    more should be required to establish improvement
  •   *Multiple indicators aligned to systems health / improvement
  •   *Stronger ties to educator effectiveness and instruction

    WHERE WERE GOING
    At our May 18
    th meeting, the School Improvement Workgroup will continue to engage in discussions focusing on the various elements of the improvement process including further refinement of the principles discussed in April. Additionally, the workgroup will engage in discussions on some of the federal requirements and flexibility with set-aside funds to support direct services to students.

    By the end of the day, we hope to have some strong proposals for frameworks in each of the four areas as well as clear proposed actions for direct services to students. This process will continue through our final meeting on June 28th.

You can read the update from the Accountability work group here. Read the Standards and Assessment update herepage2image21000

Sunday, May 22, 2016

ESSA Workgroups Meet: Standards and Assessment

This is the second of four posts regarding the ESSA workgroups meeting in Oregon to create Oregon's new system under ESSA. These are summaries released from each workgroup. Today we post the Standards and Assessment Workgroup's recap/next steps. Find more information about this workgroup here.   More on the other workgroups to come. 


Standards & Assessment Workgroup: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
WHERE WEVE BEEN
The Standards & Assessment Workgroup has been charged with considering how best to support districts in implementing the state’s rigorous content standards and how best to tailor our state’s assessment system to meet both the requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the needs of students and educators to improve student outcomes throughout students’ PK-20 experience.

Work Group Progress
The Standards & Assessment Workgroup identified a long-
term vision for how Oregon’s assessment system can best meet the needs of all students and reached a shared understanding of the purpose of different types of assessments:
 
*Our Long-Term Vision: To most effectively ensure the right fit of assessment tools to the desired outcome, we need a comprehensive and balanced assessment system that includes formative and interim assessments to inform student-level instructional decisions in addition to our current summative assessments that measure systems-level outcomes. To get there we need:
o More time, professional development, and state support around formative and interim assessment practices (not tied to systems accountability)
o Reduced emphasis (and time spent) on the statewide summative assessment (supports systems accountability)


*Summative Assessments (such as Oregon’s current statewide tests) are designed to determine how much knowledge and skills groups of students (e.g. programs, schools, districts, and states) have acquired over a long period of time and are administered after instruction has occurred. These assessments are primarily used for systems (e.g., schools and districts) accountability purposes but may also be used in some instances to measure student-level outcomes.

 *Interim assessments are designed to determine the progress of groups of students based on focused elements of content. While their structure may be similar to summative assessments, they typically focus on a narrower set of content or skills and are administered periodically throughout the year (e.g., at the end of a particular unit).

*Formative assessments are a process that supports learning and is used while a student is still engaged in instruction. Formative assessments are often thought of as assessments for learning rather than assessments of learning.

Ongoing Discussions
At the April 26th meeting, workgroup members engaged in break-out discussions focusing on the following areas for short- or near-term action to help us realize our long-term vision for Oregon’s statewide assessment system:
 *Standards Implementation Resource Needs
At our April 26th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Ways to increase stakeholder engagement in the creation, revision, and review of standards during the adoption process
o Remaining implementation gap that exists for Oregon’s adopted standards
page1image23696

*High School Flexibility
At our April 26
th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Implications for ensuring equitable opportunities (not just equal opportunities) and accessibility supports for all students, regardless of which assessment their district administers
o Implications of offering flexibility to higher education entrance and/or placement determinations
o Implications for reducing the summative assessment testing footprint
o Implications for transparency and comparability across school districts
o Values we want to ensure are reflected in the evaluation process should Oregon
decide to approve additional assessments for high school flexibility  
*Accessibility Support Needs
At our April 26th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Implications for students in poverty, not just students with disabilities or ELs o The need to ensure that test content is culturally familiar for all students
 *Summative Assessment Administration Policies
At our April 26
th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Ways to possibly reduce test length / testing time for individual students
o Possibly shifting the high school grade of accountability from grade 11 to grade
10, or alternatively providing an early testing option for eligible 10th graders
o Possibly allowing eligible students to target down to an earlier grade for those
students for whom the grade-level assessment is too rigorous and the alternate
assessment is not appropriate
 *Formative & Interim Assessment Resource Needs
At our April 26th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o The need to build capacity for formative and interim assessment practices so
they play a larger role than summative assessment in Oregon’s statewide
assessment system
o The need for including educators in the local development and scoring of
interim assessments
o The implications of incorporating interim assessments into Oregon’s
accountability system down the road

WHERE WERE GOING
At our May 18
th meeting, the Standards & Assessment Workgroup will continue to engage in break-out discussions focusing on the following areas for short- or near-term action:
  •   *Standards Implementation Resource Needs
  •   *High School Flexibility
  •   *Summative Assessment Administration Policies
  •   *Formative & Interim Assessment Resource Needs

    Given the overarching impact and importance of accessibility across these areas, accessibility will be discussed in each of these breakouts moving forward rather than as a stand-alone breakout group. As the discussions in each of these four breakout areas evolve, the full workgroup will have opportunities to share with one another across breakout discussion areas. By the end of the day, we hope to begin formulating considerations for how best to build out Oregon’s statewide assessment system through our State Plan and our implementation of ESSA. This process will continue through our final meeting on June 28th

Saturday, May 21, 2016

ESSA Workgroups Meet: Accountability

This is the first of four posts regarding the ESSA workgroups meeting in Oregon to create Oregon's new system under ESSA. These are summaries released from each workgroup. Today we post the Accountability Workgroup's recap/next steps. Find more information about this workgroup here.   More on the other workgroups to come. 

Accountability Workgroup:
Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

WHERE WEVE BEEN
The Accountability Workgroup has been charged with considering how to design an accountability and reporting system in order to support school improvement efforts and to effectively communicate school quality with Oregon parents and other stakeholders.


Work Group Progress
At our April 26
th meeting, the Accountability Workgroup focused on the overall accountability framework and on which indicators could be added to the accountability and reporting system.

  •   School Ratings versus Multiple Measures Dashboard
We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of a summative school rating as compared to a “dashboard” approach that shows data on a number of indicators, but does not combine them into an overall rating. After a lengthy discussion the group was leaning strongly toward implementing a dashboard accountability system. We believe this can fit within the bounds of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

  •   Qualities of an Accountability Indicator
We discussed the features that a data element should have, if it is to be included in an accountability system: is it meaningful, measurable, and/or actionable, and does it promote equity? In addition, we discussed the fact that including a measure in a high- stakes accountability system can change the nature of the measure itself. This led to a discussion of the importance of distinguishing between the data we include in reporting, and the data that we include in the accountability system.
  •   Indicators of School Quality/Student Success
We identified additional indicators for the accountability system (beyond those currently used) at the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels. Breakout group suggestions included:
o Attendance/Chronic Absenteeism
o College and career credits and certificates earned (IB, AP, CTE, etc.)
o Percentage of students “on-track” at middle and high school
o School climate measures (safety, participation in activities, caring/supportive
adults)
o Re-engagement rates for dropouts
o 6-year and 7-year cohort rates, and GED completion 
o Equity measures 

In addition, the groups identified several measures that could be reported, but not as part of the accountability system (i.e., the state’s method for differentiating schools)
o Access to a full curriculum
o Student surveys including socio-emotional indicators 
o Family engagement


Ongoing Discussions
At the April 26
th meeting, workgroup members who engaged in break-out discussions identified additional topics for discussion. These include:

  •   Designing a Dashboard
One breakout group began to discuss possible designs for dashboards. ODE staff will be mocking up several options to serve as prompts for further discussion. These will be discussed at the May 18 meeting.
  •  Additional Indicators
Workgroup members identified indicators to be considered in a dashboard. At the May 18th meeting the workgroup will:
o Review mockups of dashboards, based on workgroupsinput to date. 
o Review those metrics that are currently available and reported.
o Review those metrics that could be reported, based on available data. 
o Review those metrics that would need new data collections.
o Discuss those metrics that should be pursued as part of the accountability system, and those that should be considered for reporting purposes only.

  •   Participation
ESSA maintains the 95% participation rate requirement for every student group, and it also directs states to include this requirement in its annual differentiation of schools. The workgroup will discuss possible ways to include participation in the system of differentiating schools.
  •   Alternative Schools
We believe that ESSA requires a single system of indicators to differentiate all schools in the state. However, we know that alternative schools are designed to serve students with unique circumstances or challenges, and we need to design an accountability system that can appropriately evaluate these schools. This could include:
o Different weighting for the indicators.
o Additional measures to better reflect successes in these schools. 
o Potential “bonuses” for successes with at-risk students.

WHERE WERE GOING
By the end of the June 28
th meeting, the Accountability Workgroup will put forward considerations regarding:

  • The use and design of a multiple measures dashboard
  • School quality/student success indicators
  • Methods for identifying low performing schools for supports and interventions
  • Identifying modifications of an accountability system to fairly include alternative schools in the identification of low performing schools
  • Determining the role that participation will play in the accountability system