Grades

You may have seen an article recently about school performance grades (report cards for schools) and the grading scale. A few friends recently posted this one in particular: https://www.foxnews.com/…/north-carolina-considers-dropping…

There is quite a bit more to this story than would appear.

How many parents actually knew school report cards existed before this article?

You can find them here: https://ncreportcards.ondemand.sas.com/src/

A little history of school performance grades in NC:

North Carolina first assigned public school grades back in 2013 as part of the Excellent Schools Act (a number of other states already had grades or would soon incorporate them). Since that time, what we have come to learn is that, in North Carolina, these grades measure little more than the poverty level of a given school. https://ibb.co/cDfV66Q

Why is that?

Well, it has to do with what we use to determine the grade. The report cards include a few components that parents and others likely find important and of value, including teacher characteristics and school environment factors. The grade however, does not incorporate these data. School performance grades are determined solely on student achievement data using standardized tests. 80% of the grade is based on student proficiency and 20% on student growth.

As parents and others continue to push to eliminate standardized assessments not required by federal law and as we continue to do so in North Carolina we are eroding the validity of the school performance grade.

In my campaign, I am calling for the elimination of the grade (only 15 states across the country still use them at all). I believe we need a robust dashboard that includes existing data elements (including growth and proficiency), but also includes other factors that parents and students believe are important in evaluating schools.

Our current system of grading schools does little more than stigmatize children and families who live in poverty and provides an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of the quality of a given school.

What you may not realize (and what the article didn’t tell you) is that we have been using the 15 point scale for a few years, this bill would only keep us from reverting back to a 10 point scale as was originally legislated.

If you are interested in the actual bill it can be found here: https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2019/H145

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