|A Better Way to Rate Schools?
Testify before the State Board of Education
Nov 16, 5:30pm.
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Currently, schools are rated almost entirely on reading and math test scores–and almost entirely on the proportion of students who are “proficient,” regardless of how much academic progress students in the school did or didn’t make.
This approach has led to many complaints: too much focus on tests and test prep; not enough attention to other subjects; pressure on schools to focus on teaching students who are close to the proficient cusp instead of kids who score substantially higher or lower; a disincentive for schools to enroll challenging students, whose test scores typically grow more slowly; and, not enough attention to the non-academic aspects of education, including providing a nurturing, safe, challenging, engaging environment.
Thanks to the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed last year, DC has the chance to greatly revise the basis on which we evaluate school quality. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the State Board of Education (SBOE) have been meeting with members of the community since the spring to hear ideas for fixing the current system. OSSE produced a “straw man” draft, meant to elicit comment. The SBOE responded with its concerns about what was and wasn’t in the draft.
The discussion now moves to a larger, public stage: the next SBOE meeting, Nov 16 at 5:30. While any member of the public can testify on any issue they want, the three main subjects up for discussion that night are: