State Report Card Q&A

  • Why do we have a report card? Why Now?

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    The Alabama State Department of Education is developing the report cards to comply with state and federal law, following passage of Alabama Act 2012-402 and the federal Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015. The state law passed in 2012 was never implemented, but implementing it now in conjunction with the federal law means there will be one report card, not two. The Alabama State Report Card seeks to communicate how our schools are doing. It is one tool to highlight what we are doing well and where we need to improve. It is meant to encourage honest conversations about what we need to do to help all students succeed.

     

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  • How are the letter grades determined?

    Posted by:

    For schools with a grade 12, letter grades are determined using a formula that includes multiple indicators based on state test scores, student absenteeism, graduation rates, and college- and career-readiness rates. For schools without a grade 12, the formula is adjusted to account for the lack of graduation and college- and career-readiness rates.

    For a detailed look at the formulas, please read Interim Superintendent Richardson’s Dec. 14 memo that can be found here: alsde.edu/sites/memos/Memoranda/FY18-1006.pdf.

     

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  • Why does my report card from February 2018 say “prototype”?

    Posted by:

    The February 2018 Report Card is a first-draft and has not yet been approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). Once the USDOE.

     

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  • How do other states share this information?

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    Forty-four (44) states use a rating system to compare schools’ performance, and the A-F grading system is the most commonly used method. Other states assign levels, colors, numbers of stars, etc.

     

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  • What does my score mean?

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    There are many factors that influence the quality of a school. It is important that we look at the entire report card to find opportunities for improvement. By looking at these measures over time, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses in order to develop plans for improvement.

     

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  • We no longer use the ACT Aspire, how can we use the ACT Aspire to determine what letter grade a school receives?

    Posted by:

    While the ACT Aspire test is no longer used, it provided four years of consistent data to measure both student proficiency and growth. New statewide, standardized tests will be different, but will comparatively measure proficiency with the state’s college- and career-ready standards, and they will provide a new baseline for future growth.

     

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  • How can you grade a school’s performance based on an exam that was only given once during the school year?

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    One exam is better than no exam. It is imperative to measure proficiency to know if the educational standards and practices in place are effective for our students. Even one exam can provide the benchmarks that teachers need to help each student focus on the areas most challenging to them so they may grow and succeed. Additionally, federal law requires we test all students in grades three through eight and once in high school.

     

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  • How will the report cards be impacted by the switch from ACT Aspire to Scantron to whatever happens next?

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    No one knows the true impact. Right now a group of Alabama stakeholders are working to develop the best assessment for Alabama. It is important to get the assessment correct, so there is no more switch between assessments.

     

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  • Why is there a discrepancy between Graduation Rate and Proficiency Rate?

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    Proficiency measures a student’s mastery of reading and mathematics. The graduation rate simply measures the number of students who have met the state’s minimum requirements for graduation.

     

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  • Why is there a discrepancy between Graduation Rate and College and Career Ready Rates?

    Posted by:

    The high school graduation rate is determined by the number of students who start high school, complete their coursework and graduate with their cohort. The College and Career Ready rate is determined based on the percentage of students that met at least one of the six indicators that determine if he/she prepared for either a two-/four-year college or university (without remediation) or prepared for the workforce with an industry credential. The ultimate goal is to make sure every student who leaves an Alabama high school is prepared for life afterwards. The goal is to continually reduce the gap between the two until it is eliminated.

     

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  • Why do the report cards list different groups of students by race and income level?

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    Federal law requires that we report academic progress of all “subgroups” of students, which includes breaking down the data by race and income levels. This report card features a way to determine how every group of students in any school performed on every indicator. This is critical information for schools, teachers, parents and students that helps ensure every student’s educational needs can be met.

     

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  • Will ALSDE change its allocation of resources based on a school’s letter grade?

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    The Alabama Report Card provides a clear picture of schools’ performance that legislators and the State Board of Education will be able to use to have greater transparency than ever before to make better decisions regarding allocations based on need.

     

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  • I hear some say this is not a good measure of school performance. Why should I believe this grade?

    Posted by:

    The Alabama State Report Card is one tool to highlight what we are doing well and where we need to improve. It is not meant to be the only measure of a school’s performance. It was developed to encourage honest conversations about what we need to do to help all students succeed. It is important that we look at the entire report card to find opportunities for improvement. By looking at these measures over time, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a plan for improvement.

     

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  • How can we use the report card to improve our school?

    Posted by:

    The Alabama State Report Card can be used to highlight strengths and to identify those areas in which improvement is needed. This is essential to developing a plan for improvement. We are all in this together. Let’s have a conversation. Schools, parents and our larger communities all have a role to play in educating children.

     

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  • As a (parent/teacher/community member), what can I do to help improve our schools?

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    Parents and community members can volunteer, attend local school board meetings, and engage in meaningful dialogue with school leaders about what is happening in their schools. We are all in this together. Let’s have a conversation. Schools, parents and our larger communities all have a role to play in educating children. The most important thing is that you get involved.

     

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  • How can I use the report card to better understand how my school is doing?

    Posted by:

    This is the most comprehensive collection of public school data that Alabama has collected and made available in one place. Because it is interactive, families and educators can easily compare their school and district to other local systems and the state as a whole. We encourage the use of this data to inform community discussions on improving local schools. We are all in this together. Let’s have a conversation. Schools, parents and our larger communities all have a role to play in educating children.

     

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  • How do we explain discrepancies between the state report card and other third-party evaluations like niche.com and wallethub.com?

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    Third-party evaluations are often based on simple user surveys. The Alabama Report Card data has been verified by the Alabama State Department of Education, and local public school districts help to reconcile any discrepancies.

     

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  • Does a low grade mean my school is bad?

    Posted by:

    There are many factors that influence the quality of a school. The letter grade is a snapshot of how a school or school system performed during the previous year. The grades are to be used to identify areas that are performing strongly or areas that are in need of improvement.

     

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  • Where can I find more information about what my school’s grade means?

    Posted by:

    Additional data and details about the factors used to determine grades are available on the Alabama State Department of Education’s website, www.alsde.edu.

     

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