State to grade high schools on graduation rate, college readiness |

State to grade high schools on graduation rate, college readiness

by Scott Neuffer

While the state’s new school evaluation system emphasizes academic growth in elementary and middle schools, it expects a more finished product by high school.

Under the Nevada School Performance Framework, which has replaced No Child Left Behind, graduation and college/career readiness will account for more than student proficiency and growth when scoring high schools.

Like elementary and middle schools, high schools will still receive a star ranking, ranging from one to five stars, based upon a weighted 100-point index.

Unlike elementary and middle schools, where proficiency and growth account for 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of the total score, high schools will see graduation account for 30 percent of the score, status and growth for 30 percent, college/career readiness for 16 percent, reduction of subpopulation achievement gaps for 10 percent, and “other indicators,” mainly attendance, for 14 percent.

Preliminary rankings will be released in late spring, and the first full report will be released in the fall.

District Director of Assessments and Grants Brian Frazier said the high school criteria differs from lower grade levels in that it measures “that ending point in a student’s career.”

The graduation portion of the score will depend on a school’s graduation rate, using the adjusted cohort formula that includes transfers-in and transfers-out, and on graduation rate gaps between the state average and certain subpopulations: special education, low-income students and English language learners.

College and career readiness will be based on ACT and SAT test participation, advanced placement credits, advanced diplomas, and the percent of students requiring remediation in Nevada colleges and universities.

Status and growth will hinge on the percent of 10th-grade students who pass the reading and math High School Proficiency Exam on the first attempt, the percent of 11th-grade students who pass the state tests by the spring of their junior year, and the median growth percentile for sophomores. The latter is a summary of student growth percentiles for a given school. The percentiles represent students’ test performance over time, gauging growth rather than absolute proficiency.

The reduction of achievement gaps is calculated by comparing proficiency rates in the aforementioned subpopulations with state averages for all students.

The “other indicators” include average daily attendance and the percent of ninth-grade students who have earned at least five credits by the end of their freshman year.

Frazier is optimistic that Douglas schools will perform well under the new system.

“I would hope all of our schools do well,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”