Archived Story

Editorial: We’ll have to take the state’s word

Published 10:01am Thursday, May 24, 2012

 

The State Department of Education unveiled its new state ranking system for school districts, to replace the No Child Left Behind system, from which the state has received a waiver. According to Commissioner of Education Brenda Casselius, “With this new accountability system we’ll be able to better assess how our schools are really doing.”

Well, we’ll take her word on that.

The No Child Left Behind Act was a convoluted system of testing and interpreting those test results to measure how schools were progressing toward the goal of each and every child showing mastery of language and math. It was an unreasonable system in which the benchmark kept rising, and a bad performance by a couple of students, regardless of their abilities and potential, could result in a whole school being labeled as not making “Adequate Yearly Progress.”

The new system gathers the data and interprets it, measuring proficiency, based on “weighted percentage of subgroups making adequate progress under state academic standards,” growth, or getting students to “exceed predicted growth,” achievement gap reduction or the “ability of schools to get higher levels of growth from lower-performing subgroups” and graduation rate.

This is obviously a system intended to let education experts crunch data that they understand and measure performance. We know it is difficult to assess educational performance in schools all over the state, school by school and student by student.

If the new system works, we’re glad. We don’t understand it, but we’re glad.

— New Ulm Journal, May 23