progress report

New York

School report cards stabilize after years of unpredictability

After years of volatility, letter grades on progress reports for the city's elementary and middle schools are the most stable and accurate they've ever been, according to Department of Education officials. Queens schools had the highest grades on this year's city progress reports, which were released today, and charter schools received higher scores, on average, than schools across the city. Of the 1,219 schools to receive grades in this year's reports, 298 schools received an A, 411 received a B, 354 received a C, 79 received a D and 32 received an F. The city graded schools on a curve, so that 60 percent scored either an A or a B; 30 percent received C's; and 10 percent received D's or F's – twice as many as last year. That means new additions to the city's list of schools that it will consider closing. Schools that received a D or F, or three consecutive years of C or lower, are automatically added to the list of potential closures. Last year, 62 schools fell into that group, but this year, the total was 116. It is the fifth year that the city has issued the reports, which assess schools based heavily on students' state test scores and their improvement since last year, as well as attendance rates, and feedback from parents, students, and teachers. Schools also earn extra credit for progress made by students with disabilities and English language learners. For the first time this year, schools whose low-performing black and Latino boys made gains also got extra credit. "By acknowledging progress in schools that help struggling students, we can keep more students on track during elementary and middle school," Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement. Changing standards on state tests over the past two years had thrown the DOE's progress reports into a cycle of unpredictability. Inflated test scores in 2009 resulted in just two schools receiving F's, while 84 percent earned A's. Last year, after state tests became harder to pass, almost 70 percent of schools saw their grades drop and a third of schools saw their grades swing – mostly downward – by two or more letters.
New York

Joel Klein to principals: Use data, but don't over-use it

In this week's memo to principals, Chancellor Joel Klein offers some tips about the best ways to use the reams of student data the Department of Education is providing. One suggestion that seems slightly out of character (or at least out of caricature): Don't gather too much data! The motivating idea seems to be to save both paper and time by replacing binders stuffed with spreadsheets with online reports generated by ARIS, the computer data system that the city relaunched this year. Here's Klein's own words, part of a list that he says the teachers union helped create: 2.    Evaluate the information you gather and reduce redundancy in reporting. Consider whether information on student and school performance that is now being made available to your school through ARIS, your Progress Report, Quality Review, Learning Environment Survey, Inquiry Team Tool (ITT), and your Periodic Assessment reports makes it unnecessary for your school to continue gathering information in other, more time-consuming and less effective ways. In particular, consider whether it is effective to print out and assemble binders of assessment results. In many cases, assessment information is available in ARIS or in other places on the Internet, and can be more easily accessed and analyzed in an online format. And, as you know, you need not create any binders or other documents for the sole purpose of preparing for the Quality Review. Quality Reviewers focus only on data and reports that schools actually use in the regular course of the day and the school year. For example, you can show reviewers how you use the “student groups” function in ARIS to track the progress of groups of your students throughout the year. The full memo: