MNPS Reveals Details of New State Accountability System for Public Schools
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 brought a focus on data, accountability and success for all students. Still, most education observers believed the goals and deadlines were unrealistic. Tennessee now has a waiver releasing schools and districts from the NCLB accountability requirements and replacing them with new accountability measures. So what does that mean for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS)?
At the April 24 school board work session, Dr. Paul Changas and Dr. Tina Stenson of MNPS provided an overview of the new statewide school accountability system.
The new “absolute accountability” system sets new goals for the district and the schools to increase student achievement in third grade math and reading, seventh grade math and reading, 3-8 grade math and reading, high school Algebra I, high school English II and the high school graduation rate. Algebra II and English III will be added in future years. There are two overriding goals under this new system: growth for all students every year, and closing achievement gaps by ensuring faster growth for students who are furthest behind. Value-added scores for all students serve as a safe harbor for the achievement portion of absolute accountability.
“Relative accountability,” measured every one to three years, ranks schools against each other. The top 5 percent of schools showing the highest achievement and the top 5 percent of schools showing the greatest student progress will be recognized and rewarded. Schools' relative success rate will be measured by gains in reading, math and science proficiency levels, as well as high school graduation rates. Every three years, schools with success rates in the bottom 5 percent will be identified as "priority schools" and will be subject to rigorous turnaround strategies.
Finally, 10 percent of Tennessee schools will be identified as “focus schools,” based on the following criteria: high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent; schools with less than 5 percent proficient or advanced for any subgroup; or schools with large achievement gaps. Focus schools must implement research-based strategies that support students and subgroups with the greatest needs. These schools will have an opportunity to compete for $100,000 grants to aid in these efforts.
The Chamber continues to support public education as our No. 1 priority because of the important role public schools play in the future of our community. We are optimistic that, under the new state accountability standards, the goals and targets will remain aggressive but be more feasibly met, while the incentive for real improvements in student achievement will dramatically increase.