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School rating index raises focus on growth
Achievement also to factor in schools scores
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College and Career Ready Performance Index

2012 scores

Achievement: 70 percent

Progress: 15 percent

Achievement gap: 15 percent

2013 scores

Achievement: 60 percent

Progress: 25 percent

Achievement gap: 15 percent

Georgia Department of Education

The way the state rates schools will change somewhat this year, focusing more on student progress and less on one-time achievement.

This will be the second year schools receive scores under Georgia’s accountability system, the College and Career Ready Performance Index. Since last year, the state has been gathering suggestions from school systems across the state about what they want changed.

The overall score of the index comes from three areas: achievement, progress and achievement gap. The old scoring had achievement take up to 70 percent of the final score, while progress and achievement gap were worth 15 percent each. Points are determined by how students perform on the standardized Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

Schools with high levels of certain populations, such as economically disadvantaged or English-learner students, can also earn up to 10 extra “challenge points.”

The changes in place have brought the achievement component down to 60 percent, while the progress component is now worth 25 percent of the overall score.

These were changes the Gainesville and Hall school systems advocated, pushing for the index results to better reflect student growth over the final scores of an assessment test.

“We are pleased to see the adjustment that weights the overall score more heavily toward student growth,” said Jamey Moore, director of curriculum and instruction with Gainesville City Schools. “Our teachers and leaders work very hard to meet the needs of every student. It is nice to see an accountability system that is trying to reward the work being done.”

Hall Superintendent Will Schofield called it a “step in the right direction,” but said he doesn’t think relying on standardized testing will accurately show student improvement through the year.

“I still think we have the fundamental problem that we have a Criterion-Referenced metric that was never designed to measure growth,” Schofield said. “It just really is problematic in terms of what we set up and how we’re trying to do it.”

The new index was put in place in 2012 as part of the state’s waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which was meant to close achievement gaps between students.