With five working weeks left in the life of the 129th Ohio General Assembly, lame duck session began this week with hearings in the House Education Committee on House Bill 555.
HB555 seeks to replace the current system of evaluating school districts, individual buildings, charter schools and other public schools with a “performance profile” system in which schools are assigned a letter grade on an A-F scale for overall academic performance as well as several performance indicators.
The idea is that this new grading scale will be easier for the public to understand and give a better, more accurate snap-shot of the overall performance of our public schools than the current system, which rates schools as either Excellent, Effective, in a state of Continuous Improvement, on Academic Watch, or Academic Emergency.
The new rating system will be phased-in over a four-year period, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year and being fully implemented by the start of the 2015-2016 school year.
Some have deemed the current system of evaluating school performance as complicated, ineffectual, and as failing to provide a meaningful evaluation of schools and districts. The proposal found in HB555 replaces this system with a “dashboard” model that provides a fairer and more accurate representation of academic performance with a new emphasis on preparation for student success.
The new system will incorporate the following components in determining a school’s overall performance:
Achievement Gap – a measure of student achievement when assessments are administered to students, which incorporates the performance index and performance indicator status of school performance
Gap Closing – the measure of progress toward reducing the achievement gaps by 50 percent during the next six years. This is required by the federal “No Child Left Behind” program.
Student Progress- a value-added component that measures the academic progress of student sub-groups, including gifted students, students with disabilities, and students whose achievements fall in the bottom 20 percent statewide
K-3 Literacy Progress- a measure to track the progress of schools and districts in reducing the number of students who are reading below grade level. This is tied directly to the recently-passed 3rd Grade Reading Initiative.
Prepared for Success – measure of the performance of high school graduates to determine if they are prepared for life after high school. Factors considered will include whether students require additional workforce development education after gradation or require college remediation coursework.
If you wish to learn more about the proposed performance evaluation system or other changes that are proposed in House Bill 555, you can read the analysis of the bill here. The legislature is off next week for Thanksgiving recess but will return for session beginning November 27. Be sure to check back or follow us on twitter for more legislative updates.