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Schools’ scores mixed in new evaluation system
by Everett Catts
May 16, 2013 05:54 PM | 6440 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(UPDATED AT 6 P.M. THURSDAY WITH QUOTES FROM HEARDS FERRY ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL BRENT MCBRIDE REGARDING THAT SCHOOL'S SCORES.)

The Georgia Department of Education Tuesday released both district and school scores in the new College & Career Ready Performance Index, and local schools had mixed results.

In February 2012, Georgia was one of 10 states granted a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which since 2001 had guided how schools would be evaluated. The index replaced No Child and was designed by the state to give parents and the public a more comprehensive system than the pass/fail one in place under No Child’s Adequate Yearly Progress plan, according to a document released by the state.

Under the index program, each school and each district receives a score based on a 100-point scale and is designed around each student’s college or career readiness, or “the level of achievement required in order for a student to enroll in two- or four-year colleges and universities,” the document states. Points are earned in the following categories: achievement (up to 70), progress (up to 15) and achievement gap (up to 15).

Schools can also receive challenge points (up to 10) if they have a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, English learner students and students with disabilities meeting goals. Schools can also get challenge points for going beyond the index’s targets by challenging students to exceed expectations and partake in college- and career-ready programs.

Starting in the 2013-14 academic year, schools will also earn points based on their financial efficiency and school climate, but those will be for public information only and not factor into the overall scores. This year's scores are based on evaluations and grades from the 2011-12 academic year.

Atlanta Public Schools, which serve Buckhead, had an average of 68.4. Cobb County Schools, which serve Vinings, scored an 85.4, and Fulton County Schools, which serve Sandy Springs, was almost equal with an 85.7.

In an emailed response Friday to questions about Atlanta's scores, district spokesman Stephen Alford wrote, “The 2011-12 results support our sense of urgency to improve systemic levels of achievement across the district through the implementation of our five year strategic plan. However, while we are below the state in our average results, some of our schools are achieving at the highest levels.

In Buckhead, North Atlanta High had a score of 68 but its middle and elementary schools fared much better. Three elementary schools — Jackson (96.9), Smith (95.8) and Brandon (95.1) — each had scores of 95 or higher.

“Obviously I was very proud, but like anyone else, I asked, 'What did I do to miss those three points?' Jackson Principal Lorraine Reich said. “We're all getting use to the way the data is collected. I’m not 100 percent comfortable that I understand all the calculations on all the scores, primarily the growth sand achievement gap scores. Were’ not used to being evaluated that way and we haven't really studied how that impacts us. We’re used to having achievement scores drive the grading, and we’re proud our students do well but we work very hard to make that happen.”

“The differences between Jackson, Brandon and Smith [Elementary] are almost miniscule. These are last year’s scores and third- through fifth-graders are the only [elementary] students evaluated to determine the scores.”

Alford was also asked about the high scores of Buckhead’s elementary schools.

“We are proud of our [district’s] schools with CCRPI results in the 90s, and we commend our students, parents, teachers and school administrators for their efforts,” he wrote. “However, we will now review the results to better understand the practices that are yielding high scores in a number of areas, including the student progress component. 12 of our schools scored in the 90s; in addition, 12 of our elementary schools scored above the state mean of 83.4.”

In Sandy Springs, North Springs and Riverwood high schools had mediocre scores, 76.2 and 75.8, respectively. However, its elementary schools each had scores of 80 or above, with Heards Ferry (95.8) and Dunwoody Springs (90.3) leading the way.

“Obviously we’re proud of the accomplishments the students made,” Heards Ferry Principal Brent McBride said. “When we did see the 95.8 score, I did compare us to some other schools in Fulton County that are both in our district and the Atlanta district.”

“[The school had] 67.6 out of 70 on achievement points. [With] the challenge points, there is a lot of [room for] growth or opportunity to raise them.”

McBride also said the school examined ways it could improve its score in the future.

“When you look at it, we looked at our different areas,” he said. “We got all our achievement gap points. Most of the areas we topped out in or got very close. But it was our challenge points we really can grow in to move closer to that 100 percent mark.”

Smyrna’s Campbell High, which serves Vinings residents, had a 71 but its feeder schools fared better. Campbell Middle had a 78.8 and Teasley Elementary scored an 84.7.

“Teasley received a very respectable score considering the accountability system is brand new and we are just beginning to review our data,” Teasley Principal Leslie Mansfield wrote in an email. “Our staff and community will expect improvement once we identify the areas of need and determine exactly how the scoring was generated. We are already looking to next year and how we can continue to provide the best opportunity for our students.”

Statewide, Georgia’s scores were 83.4 for elementary schools, 81.4 for middle schools and 72.6 for high schools.

Emails to Fulton district spokeswoman Susan Hale seeking comment on those schools’ scores had not been returned as of Friday afternoon.

Information: http://bit.ly/13ixFH1.

Here are each district's and school's individual scores:

District-wide scores

District: CCRPI Score

Atlanta Public Schools: 68.4

Cobb County Schools: 85.4

Fulton County Schools: 85.7

School-by-school scores

Cobb County Schools

School: CCRPI Score

Campbell High: 71

Campbell Middle: 78.8

Teasley Elementary: 84.7

Atlanta Public Schools

School: CCRPI Score

North Atlanta High: 68

Sutton Middle: 85.9

Bolton Academy: 67.5

Brandon Elementary: 95.1

Garden Hills Elementary: 73.9

Jackson Elementary: 96.9

Rivers Elementary: 84

Smith Elementary: 95.8

Fulton County Schools

School: CCRPI Score

North Springs High: 76.2

Riverwood High: 75.8

Ridgeview Middle: 78.3

Sandy Springs Middle: 75.2

Dunwoody Springs Elementary: 90.3

Heards Ferry Elementary: 95.8

High Point Elementary: 85

Ison Springs Elementary: 81.6

Lake Forest Elementary: 80

Spalding Drive Elementary: 80.3

Woodland Elementary: 84
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