Monday, May 14, 2018

Board of Ed meets on Accountability

This is what would usually be next Monday's "special meeting," but is early due to Shavuot ending Monday at sundown. 
The livestream is here.
The memo is here. The presentation is as yet not posted. 
Posting as we go once it starts 
starting the meeting with six members...

Riley: know this process has been ongoing for awhile now, long before he was in position
"one more crack at understanding the process and where we're going here"

Johnston: overview of proposed accountability model and assistance system
important vote in June
thought it would be good to dig in in May
two functions: meaningfully differentiate progress schools are making
assistance "how we can provide assistance to the schools that need it the most"
"planning to spend more time on accountability tonight"
"would like to save about 45 minutes to talk about assistance as well"

Curtin: "some things that you've seen before and some new things"
redesigned frameworks of accountability system
"the idea here is to spend a good amount of time to have a good base for when we come back to you in June for a vote"
timeline...which I am not typing for you...
vote to solicit public comment for the regulations that will govern this
all leading to next month when we will ask the Board to vote on two things:
public comment closes this Friday 
redesigned system in September
have been meeting in districts; have made some changes based on feedback around the state
"talked to over 500 district and school leaders"

additional data points in the system:
"actionable information to districts and schools focused on continuous improvement"
normative and criterion referenced
focus on raising lowest performing schools
no more Level 1-5; new accountability categories
no longer classifying districts according to lowest performing school

four indicators for non-high schools
  • achievement: ELA, math, science (CPI for science, average scaled score for others)
  • student growth: ELA and math (transition to using mean rather than median to capture entire range of scores better)
  • EL proficiency: score on ACCESS test; setting targets on annual basis (six year path to English proficiency)
  • chronic absenteeism: % of students who are missing more than 10% (more than 18 days); measure beyond tested using grades 1-12, not K-12 

will go into effect for non-high schools in September
Peyser: "differentiation of trajectory" based on characterization of the student; asks about English learners
Curtin: very much not thinking of this in concrete; commiting to coming back to you on an annual basis
target based on where you start, number of years you've been in Massachusetts, based on historical data
"if we make a decision going forward that we want to make that number of years smaller...if we want to make these targets more rigorous moving forward" have committed to look at again
West: if we're allowing them six years to make progress...there are an annual set of targets along the way
Curtin agrees
Fernandez asks about best practices on closing gaps, referencing LOOK act 
Curtin: department wide  work; might want to think a bit differently in the coming years

McKenna: suspension counting towards absenteeism?
Curtin: counting receiving educational services, not in or out of school

High schools "have more data"
  • achievement: ELA, math, science (CPI for science, average scaled score for others)
  • student growth: ELA and math (transition to using mean rather than median to capture entire range of scores better)
  • EL proficiency: score on ACCESS test; setting targets on annual basis (six year path to English proficiency)
  • high school completion: four year graduation, plus extended engagement ("incentivizes keeping kids in the school culture), plus dropout rate included
  • Additional: chronic absenteeism; successful completion of advanced coursework in 11th and 12th grade "have some very serious equity gaps" (AP, IB, dual enrollment for credit, rigorous math and science)

"not going to look at an AP, as that gets into an economic issue"
McKenna notes disparities across Commonwealth in offering AP
Curtin: looking at other course titles beyond AP
Doherty "weren't there other indicators we talked about?"
Curtin: these are the ones we've have settled on for the formal accountability system
school and district report cards: including arts, discipline rates
Doherty: is the weighing the same? Curtin says lead into next slide
Peyser: asking about English learning again...Curtin six year path in Massachusetts schools

ratio of achievement to growth 3 to 1
"there's been a lot of conversation about if that ratio should change"
"growth is a good differentiator" 
increasing growth also increases the value of a normative measure (someone is always 1 and someone is always 99..."regardless if we don't do great on the test or if we all do well on the test")
also decreases value of grade 3 (as there is no grade 2) and of science
"things to consider"
Morton: who advocates for growth?
Curtin: often our urban superintendents advocate for growth (to what looked like agreement from the Commissioner)
Sagan: had been a topic of conversation before my time
McKenna: remind me where we were the last go-around
Curtin: our current ratio of 3 to 1 (achievement to growth)
"need to include all indicators in the weighing and need to make system flexible enough to accommodate those schools that don't have an English Language Learner subgroup"
recommending at this time to stay at 3 to 1
McKenna: issue here is 60% of 3rd grade white kids read at proficient or above; 30% of Latino and African-American kids do
"that's where the rubber meets the road here"
"growth is so much more important in showing that the district is improving...the growth in Dover is never going to be very much, because they have no place to go"
West: average scale score tells you what progress is needed; the growth tells you who is making a difference
and the question is who is making a difference
McKenna: glad to see the Levels 1-4 ending and emphasizing assistance
talking to kids "they knew they were a Level 4 school...and they weren't bragging about it"
"I think if that changes, this is less important...I don't know...I hope we can get there...hope that those kids in Brighton High School see that if they work hard and get better, they aren't failing...because right now, they think they're failing, because they're in the Level 4 school...when they won this award, they were shocked...that's my concern"

measuring on ACCESS test, not on MCAS
"more kids will have an ELL subgroup now than have, because it isn't just grades 3-8 and 10"
not just those in MCAS

Sagan asks what Riley thinks of this
Riley: "asked at last meeting that we look at this as a work in progress and give ourselves a chance to tweak it as the information passes through it"
"come in at the last hour with this mostly baked"
"I see some positive things"
"some may remember during my interview that I was one of those urban superintendents who spoke of growth....and" advocated for arts
"would like to test our students in a more efficient way" so we don't shut down the schools for the spring
"and find a way to make the scoring easier so districts can get the data back in June so they can plan for the fall"
"interesting time to reflect that we have this new accountability system"
"take the time to reflect as we go forward"
to Sagan's question on changes: Curtin: less weigh overall on MCAS scores than it has been
Doherty: don't see that much different than before
measuring schools primarily on test scores is a big problem for me
Morton: have we taken the proposed strategy and looked at the proposed impact on schools?
Curtin: we have but we don't have multiple years (so growth...etc...not as much there)
when we get a second year of data, we can look at impact thoroughly
"generally's going to be about how schools are improving, as opposed to what their overall achievement is"
"how are we going to use that data?"
are you going to judge schools against each other (normative) or relative to how they are doing against themselves (criteon referenced)
accountability percentage 1-99 based on state assessment system (so all new MCAS, any schools doing some of each (so 7-12, for example), and all former MCAS)
"how does the school compare to all schools relatively speaking, and how does the subgroup compared to all subgroups"
allows us to identify the lowest performing schools in the Commonwealth (1-10)
and the lowest performing subgroups
once everyone is taking the new test, there will just be one list
"that's the normative component"
"we want the majority of our system to focus on a criterion referenced component"
how is the school doing at meeting targets for that school?
"focus on gap closing at the school level"
"we found that that was really hard to do...have to have two sides to measure a gap"
(have to have both high needs and non-high needs...)
and gap closing also can happen when the higher group comes down "and that's not what we meant by gap closing"
"lowest performing 20% of students" and every school has a lowest performing 20% of students
"implementing for the first time a control for transiency"
grades 3-8: schools already have lists of students
have to be there for two years and be tested for two years
Doherty: will students know if they've been identified as such?
Curtin: have provided lists to districts and schools and have to provided additional requirements?
what we've heard is that these are not a surprise to them
"parents will know their child's test scores, but they will not know relative to the other students in the schools"
Doherty: "if they're setting up special programs to improve the lowest 25%"
Sagan: "I don't understand what's different"
West: group essentially being called out in a double way
McKenna: the issue is, you've known how your student has performed but not how they've done compared to other students
Morton: interventions?
Johnston: inteventions geared to needs of students that they're serving
Riley: the thought that came to me is that this may change how some high performing districts focus on their students (as previously they may have focused on their highest performing)
Curtin: schools have targets set based on historical data for both all students and for lowest performing groups
"where possible and appropriate, we'll set a target"
for 2018, only setting target for one year
one year of data on the MCAS..."we want to be careful" as we get new data
can think about longer term targets
"have looked at how like-performing schools have performed on state assessments"
"this is the type of improvement we have previous years on state assessments" by quartile
can decline, stay same, improve but not meet target, could meet target, or could exceed target
"have set up a compensatory system...we don't want to go back to NCLB days" where one indicator could sink you
getting 3 out of 4 on each
through measuring all students and lowest performing students
there is a weighing decisions to be made: each 50% is recommendation
"a value based recommendation...if we're serious about the improvement of the lowest performing students it should be indicated in the calculation"
McKenna: this is not a real school?
Curtin: 10% of lowest performing in a category in a normative measure
other 90% based on their own targets
accountability determinations based on five things:
  1. accountability percentile
  2. criteron-referenced target percentage
  3. subgroup performance (subgroup percentile)
  4. graduation rate
  5. assessment participation

we're going to stick some chart photos in here, too
any school with a graduation rate of 66.7% in four yearsas in need of focused or targeted support; "this would not be our choice"
this will include alternative schools; "our hands are tied here"
will be required to submit a plan "and it very well might be 'we're going to continue what we're doing as it's our mission' will be their plan"
West: is there a formula that will trigger intervention?
Curtin: 1-10, 20 to 30 schools whose overall achievement would not put them in level 3 whose subgroup would place them there
modeling has told us that's where it will be (15%)

either meeting targets or partially meeting targets next year (there will be no "not meeting targets" next year due to all the changes of tests, Commissioner, accountability, etc)
then meeting targets, partially meeting targets, and not meeting targets

"we believe this is more factual" in leaving levels behind
"left open for interpretation"
number of superintendents that have said that their school committees have givent them a hard time about Level 2; "never imagined the system to be designed that way...we never imagined Level 2 to be a bad thing at all"

sorry there was a back and forth there about if anything will change; Doherty doubts it will change things...others pointing out that some of this in federal law...

responsibility around districts goes to Board on districts
"are not going to be calculating a district it gets too close to the charter cap calculation"
can only end up in focused or targeted support ONLY IF it doesn't hit 66.7% graduation or test participation
districts will be either meeting or partially not meeting schools
no longer tagged by lowest performing school
now just run whole district as a categorization of its own as if it were a big school

"I don't want to give the impression that we're not going to be reporting out on every single little thing" (that may have had some tone...)
"assurance that though we're focusing on the all students group and the lowest performing group, we'll be publishing all subgroups on our website"
"will be coming to you in June for a vote"

West: lowest performing group doesn't play a role in getting you into the bottom underperforming percent
Curtin: only all students can get you into the lowest performing percentile (hmmm...this seems like a good thing to weigh in on...)

McKenna applauds direction of this
did put in our plan that we'd report on the arts for the schools
"I don't want it to get lost here"
Curtin: will be a statistic that is on our school and district report cards
will be released by the end of the calendar year
Sagan: should re-review that as a separate topic

Associate Commissioner Rodriguez: statewide system of support
they're reviewing how this currently works...the problem is that this presentation doesn't seem to have a chart for what it will change to? 
restructuring due to new accountability focus, reduced resources, inequitable distribution of support, added responsibilities for schools and districts in receivership
building on successful practices, focusing on schools in lowest 10th percentile, intending to be more consistent and more equitable
reconfiguring regional assistance delivery; regional leadership with dedicated assistance leads; continued focus on successful turnaround practice
"our work rests on our turnaround practices"

three teams:
  • strategic transformation
  • coastal
  • central/west
much more focused on outcomes
"focused on feedback from school and district partners"
Sagan asks Riley
Riley: "Department doesn't have the resources that it did even five years much time as we spend on accountability, it's important that we spend as much time if not more time supporting our schools...think support isn't given the same prominence"
need to be careful going forward
Sagan: goal isn't to weaken the system but to strengthen it and make it clear
Doherty: have talked to a lot of people out in the field who are still struggling to get their arms around it
if a parent asked you what the three biggest changes are in the accountability system and why they're important, what would you say?
asks that they not answer now

DON'T FORGET: Comments on the reg changes are due Friday! Also a few thoughts from me on this on Twitter. 

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