August 29, 2013According to the Michigan Department of Education's new color-coded accountability scorecard, one of three performance metrics in its school accountability report released last week, the Grosse Pointe Public School System has two schools identified as red, one as orange and the remainder as yellow.
The scorecard, which replaces Adequate Yearly Progress, the result of Michigan receiving flexibility to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, uses a five-color system to designate school performance.
Green is the highest level, followed by lime, yellow, orange and red, the lowest level.
Colors are based on a school meeting targets in student participation on state assessments, student proficiency, graduation or attendance rates, educator evaluations and compliance with a school's improvement plan. One red in any target area automatically drops a school's highest possible overall color score to yellow.
Both Grosse Pointe North and South high schools received reds, as did 15 percent of the 3,397 schools scored. Eighty-two percent received yellow, orange or lime scores and 3 percent green. Pierce Middle School earned an orange designation.
"They were deemed red because they did not meet the participation thresholds with African American students and students with disabilities (subgroups)," director of secondary curriculum, instruction, assessment and technology Aaron Johnson said during a presentation he and Maureen Bur, director of elementary curriculum, instruction, assessment and technology, gave to the GPPSS Board of Education Monday at its regular meeting.
Subgroups consist of at least 30 students in a school within a given designation — race and ethnicity, English as second language, economically disadvantaged and students with special needs.
To meet the participation threshold, which is established by students enrolled rather than students available for the test, schools must have 95 percent of students in each subgroup participate in taking the MME, MEAP or MI-Access, an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards.
"(Not meeting the threshold) happens partly because in high schools we have very small subgroups, so it only takes five students from one subgroup to trigger that piece," said Jon Dean, deputy superintendent of educational services. "That's frustrating to us."
As a response, Johnson said the district has in place several plans, among which is sending a team of administrators to the fall Bureau of Assessment and Accountability conference at Eastern Michigan University to better understand the new scoring system.
Also planned are: continuing freshmen assist programs, sharpening focus on and monitoring professional learning communities, sharing effective instructional strategies between teachers, implementing a multi-tiered system of support of evidence-based strategies and item analyses for subject areas needing improvement.
In addition to the accountability scorecard, the state report also included its Top-to-Bottom ranking and Reward, Focus and Priority school designations.
Similar with previous years' results, Kerby (97 percentile on Top-to-Bottom ranking), Maire (98), Monteith (93) and Richard (98) elementary schools and Brownell Middle School (99) were listed Reward schools, placing them among the top 5 percent of schools on the Top-to-Bottom ranking, as well as the top 5 percent "making the greatest academic progress over the previous four years."
Three hundred forty-two schools earned the Reward distinction.
Ferry (69), Defer (84) and Poupard (46) elementary schools, Parcells (65) and Pierce (82) middle schools and North high school (73) were designated Focus schools, meaning these six schools, along with 343 others across Michigan, have wide achievement gaps between the various student populations.
"This is a beginning, this is not an ending point," Bur said. "And it's an opportunity for us to look at not only what the test scores are, but how we can continuously improve and look at those strategies.
"That's what Aaron and I will continue to work with the administrators, as well as, if they work with the teachers, providing them the data, but then let's take it that next step. Let's see how that transpires into the instructional practice in the classroom."