Accountability Opinion

Nip/Tuck for NYC Progress Reports?

By Eduwonkette — February 29, 2008 3 min read
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Yesterday’s Principals Weekly (a weekly email sent to New York City principals) foreshadowed some possible changes to the NYC Progress Reports. (You can read earlier posts on progress reports here.) Some proposed changes include:

1) The new system may assign separate grades for each element of the progress report. In other words, schools could get an A for the overall proficiency category, a C based on their students’ test score growth, and an F based on the learning environment surveys. This is a very positive step. (Diane Ravitch made a powerful argument for this change in the fall.)

2) The Progress Reports compare each school to a group of similar schools. In the fall, the elementary and K-8 “peer indices” were created using demographics; the new proposal is to use “the average ELA and math proficiency rating of students in the testing grades” instead.

3) To address ceiling effects, the new Progress Reports may count any level 4 student (the highest performance level) who remains at level 4 as making one year of progress.

4) A “progress adjustment” may be made for special education students who take the state ELA and math tests in consecutive years. I am not sure how DOE plans to adjust scores, but this appears to be a response to Leo Casey’s special ed post on Edwize.

Read the full Principals Weekly excerpt on Progress Reports below, or see Elizabeth Green for more details.

From Principals Weekly:

Since the release of the Progress Reports in November, the Office of Accountability has gathered feedback from principals, teachers, parents, the UFT, the CSA, and others. Based on careful consideration of all suggestions received, we are considering the following changes to the elementary/middle/K-8 Progress Reports. Additional changes may be considered based on your feedback, and we will announce final decisions about the changes later this spring. If you have questions or comments about the proposed changes, please email PR_Support@schools.nyc.gov. We will announce proposed changes to the high school Progress Reports in March. The list of changes under consideration is as follows:

* Additional Credit – lower the minimum number of students required for additional credit eligibility from 20 to 15 so that more schools qualify

* Attendance - exclude Pre-K students from the attendance measure

* Elementary/K-8 Peer Index - calculate the peer index for elementary and K-8 schools using the average ELA and math proficiency rating of students in the testing grades. Student demographics would no longer be factored into the peer index.

* Letter grades by Progress Report category – add letter grades (A-F) for each section of the Progress Report (School Environment, Student Performance, and Student Progress)

* Level 4 students - any student who is a Level 4 in consecutive years qualifies as making one year of progress

* Regents Exams in Middle Schools - a middle school student can qualify as making one year of progress in Math either by a) maintaining or improving his/her proficiency rating on the state math test from one year to the next or b) scoring 85 or higher on the Math A Regents exam

* Special Education - reflect the additional challenge schools undertake when serving special education students by giving a progress adjustment for each such student who takes the state ELA and math tests in consecutive years

If adopted, the proposed changes would have the following effects on next year’s Progress Report:

* Grade Cutoff Scores – grade cut-off scores would be adjusted to coincide with what the grade distribution would have been for 2007-08 using the 2006-07 Progress Report rules

* Peer Groups – elementary/K-8 schools would be assigned new peer groups for next year based on the new peer indexing methodology

* Peer and City Horizons – peer and city horizons would be updated to take into account the new peer groups, the revised metric definitions, and an additional year of data

* Targets – the 2006-07 rules would be used to determine whether a school met its pre-existing target; going forward, new targets would be based on the 2007-08 rules

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