I have to say that I am very disappointed that the state may not take the recommendations of the Accountability Framework Working Group who met for over a year and a half. Instead, they are doing exactly what Donna Johnson with the State Board and the Governor’s Office wanted which was stronger penalties for schools who fell below the 95% Smarter Balanced state assessment participation rate.
I was at the last two meetings of the AFWG and I heard first hand what the Governor’s Office wanted; stronger penalties to be placed on our schools. Donna Johnson stated that the State Board was probably not going to approve the final recommendations that the group made. She indicated that the State Board would want stronger penalties as well. Really, how did the State Board come to that conclusion because they were not at the meetings. How would Donna know that they would not agree with these recommendations because the group just decided on the recommendations?
The AFWG recommended that if a school fell below 95 percent it would be required to submit a report explaining why that happened and how to improve participation and that school could not be named a reward school. The group decided on this penalty because it would cause the least amount of damage to a school. The group would have preferred not to put any penalties in place, but the state told the group it was mandated by the feds.
The group members consisted of school administrators from charter and traditional schools, the Delaware PTA , the Delaware State Education Association, and the State Board. The entire group, except for one, did not want to punish schools because the administrators at a school have no control as to whether or not a student takes the state assessment. If a parent wishes to opt their child out of the state assessment, a school has no control over that, so why does the state want to punish that school for something a school has no control over?
In an effort to ensure as many students as possible are taking the state standardized test, the state Department of Education is recommending schools lose points on a new “scorecard” if fewer students than expected take the exam.
That’s a harsher penalty for schools with low participation rates than a panel of administrators and teacher and parent advocates recommended.
Their plan, which the Working Group had previously rejected, would multiply a school’s score by its participation rate if that rate fell below 95 percent.
“The state feels this is a fair proposal that takes into consideration participation, crediting schools that work to ensure every child’s learning growth is considered,” May wrote.