Parents should watch your mail or check your child's Friday folder in January for an in-depth report on your child's school. From test scores to school highlights, the School Accountability Reports will provide you with detailed information about your child's school.
How does PSD compare with schools across the state? Overall, 40 PSD schools (74 percent) ranked High or Excellent in Academic Performance on the Colorado School Accountability Reports (SARs), announced December 10 by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). Statewide, 44 percent of all schools rated High or Excellent in 2007-2008.
School Academic Performance Rankings Based on CSAP Scores Grades 3-10
Overall, 13 PSD schools were rated Excellent, 27 schools were rated High, 10 schools were rated Average, and 1 alternative school was rated Low in Academic Performance of State Assessments, which is calculated using Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test scores in reading, writing, and math in elementary and junior high schools and 10th-grade CSAP and 11th-grade ACT scores in high schools.
Each school in the state received one of the following ratings: Excellent, High, Average, Low or Unsatisfactory. No PSD school was ranked Unsatisfactory. Two alternative educational programs or schools were exempt from this year’s reporting: Centennial High School and Poudre Transition Center.
Academic Growth of Students Rating Uses New Colorado Growth Model
Beginning in 2008, the SAR school growth measure is based on the Colorado Academic Growth Model, which provides a way to understand how much academic growth a student made from one CSAP administration to the next. The Growth Model compares each student's performance to students in the same grade throughout Colorado who had similar CSAP scores in past years and calculates a Student Growth Percentile. For example, if a student grew as much or more than 60 percent of her peers, the student would have a 60th growth percentile.
Each school’s overall SAR median growth percentile is calculated by combining the reading, writing and math student growth percentiles for all SAR-eligible students into one large dataset. Calculations are completed on this dataset, taking into account school size and the comparison of a school’s growth percentiles to the state median of 50. Depending on the calculation, a school is categorized as having High, Typical, or Low growth.
Colorado Growth Model calculations are not comparable to previous SAR Growth ratings.
On the 2008 SARs growth category calculated by CDE for each school 17 PSD schools were ranked in the High growth category, 22 schools were ranked in the Typical category, and 12 schools were ranked in the Low growth category. High school rankings are based only on one grade level’s CSAP scores—10th graders—since PSD’s 9th graders still attend junior highs, and CSAP tests are not given in 11th and 12th grades.
“The School Accountability Reports continue to show that Poudre School District is a high performing district and that our teachers and students do an outstanding job of educating every child every day,” says Chuck DeWayne, director of student assessment and accreditation. “These reports are one more tool we use to assess at our performance and to help us determine areas for improvement.”
PSD Uses Variety of Measures to Determines Student Progress
The SARs are one of many accountability measures PSD uses to determine student progress. CSAP scores, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), district Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) testing, and classroom performance data are all used by schools to develop and implement their annual school improvement plans.
Other data also is listed in each School Accountability Report, including CSAP scores by grade, teacher experience, student/teacher ratios, students in or near poverty level (noted as “students eligible for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program”), safety and discipline, and student attendance.
“It’s difficult to accurately compare one school to another based on these ratings for several reasons,” says Manny Ortega, executive director of secondary schools. “Each school has a unique community and faces its own economic, social, and even geographic challenges, and the School Accountability Reports really do not take these differences into consideration. Whether it’s language, mobility or socioeconomic differences, these factors play a role in student performance.”
PSD continues to address the needs of its lower-rated schools on a number of levels:
· School Accreditation Plans are being implemented in all schools to address strategies for helping low-performing students. Improvement strategies are listed in each school’s accreditation report and plan.
· PSD now has extensive diagnostic analysis from the CSAP testing program to use to improve instruction. This provides detailed information about how students are performing in sub-content areas within standards.
· PSD is providing expanded data analysis training for teachers, principals, and curriculum facilitators so they can effectively use the data to improve instructional strategies.
· PSD continues to educate parents and encourage parental support and involvement in their student’s education.
Distribution of School Accountability Reports
Every family will receive a School Accountability Reports from their child’s school in late December or early January, depending on when schools receive the fliers from CDE. Elementary school parents will receive a report in their student’s weekly school folder, and junior and senior high school parents will receive a report by mail.
The reports are also available on the State of Colorado website at www.cde.state.co.us. For additional information, contact John Passantino at 490-3124.