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Conditional support for the revised Achievement Index

The wheels of progress moved forward yesterday for Washington state, no thanks to the state legislature.

While the legislature convened for its second special session to pass a 2013-15 budget, a working group of the State Board of Education (SBE) advanced a significant piece of work to enhance our state’s K-12 accountability system.

Last spring Washington state applied for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirements and received a one-year conditional waiver. This waiver can be renewed for a second year if the state meets certain interim benchmarks.

One of those benchmarks is updating our Achievement Index.  As part of its work to update the Index, the SBE convened an advisory Achievement and Accountability Workgroup (AAW) to collect stakeholder input as it develops the revised Index.  LEV has participated in the AAW since its inception last fall.

The AAW voted yesterday to support the draft Index.  LEV was among a handful of conditional support votes.

The current draft of the Index is a substantial step up from what we have now.  The proposal incorporates student growth, includes measures to try and close achievement gaps, and includes a college and career readiness indicator.

Despite the good work that has been done, LEV still has significant concerns about how English Language Learner (ELL) students are or are not incorporated into the Index:

1) Though student growth and proficiency data of current ELL students are included as part of the Limited English subgroup in the Index, English language acquisition data of ELL students is not incorporated in the Index.

2) We support the recommendations of the Quality Education Council (“QEC”), in their 2010 study, that long term outcome goals for ELL students who have exited TBIP should be included in the state accountability system.

As a recent Seattle Times editorial stated, it is critical that we get this right.

We look forward to working with our partners both on the AAW and elsewhere to continue to tackle the issue of how best to hold our education system accountable for the outcomes of ELL students, special education students, and all groups who have had persistent and unacceptable opportunity and achievement gaps in our state.

 

 

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Washington state to use new accountability measures

As a result of Washington’s ESEA waiver, Superintendent Randy Dorn has announced a new federally approved accountability system. Instead of AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) results, Washington schools will be using Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs).

AMOs will be more targeted than AYP goals. AMOs are calculated using proficiency gaps, which are targeted at the school level and focused on the differences in achievement between all students and every tracked subgroup. Tracked subgroups include English language learners, students with disabilities, students of color and low-income students. According to OSPI, “a proficiency gap is the percentage point difference between that group’s level of proficiency in the baseline year of 2011 and 100 percent.”

In a statement to the press, Superintendent Dorn said, “We have high expectations for all of our students. The targets set for 2017 are realistic expectations for schools and subgroups, but we will keep working so every student can go as far as their talents and abilities will take them.” Washington state plans to cut all proficiency gaps by 50 percent by 2017.

Read the full announcement here.

More information can be found below:

 

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New study looks at what it takes to attract and support talented principals

CRPE (the Center of Reinventing Public Education) released a a study titled Principal Concerns: Leadership Data and Strategies for States which explores what states do (and can do) to “find, deploy,  and keep good principals.”

As the study notes, principals are an extremely important component to education. Principals are responsible for hiring teachers and enacting and developing school policies that increase student success. In fact, researchers cite a study which says that principals account for a quarter for “school’s total impact on student achievement.”

According to the research, states are just now beginning to implement legislation to support strong principals. Some districts, such as  New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Hartford, and Denver have enacted laws that have given principles more decision making power by getting rid of mandates that deal with “requirements in schools, class sizes, how many students can be in a class, and how teacher time must be used.” Some states and districts have also worked to ensure budget flexibility enact competitive pay.

CRPE provides suggestions for state policymakers to aid them when it comes to attracting and keeping talented principals which includes looking at and publishing data, choosing high impact options, encouraging  districts to try new things, and linking principal policies to teacher policies.

Read the full study here (PDF).

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