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New plan will end 3 year hiatus of school ratings

Mon, 09/18/2017

“Student-centered” accountability system approved; will provide ratings for schools beginning with current school year

Columbia – On September 15, the Education Oversight Committee approved indicators and weightings to use in establishing the overall performance ratings for South Carolina elementary, middle, and high schools. The components will be incorporated into the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, which will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education this week.

The EOC vote, hailed as “student-centered” by Chairman Neil Robinson, establishes one education accountability system for the state, as the approved system meets both state and federal requirements. The approved plan was developed from recommendations initially approved by the EOC in January 2017 and subsequent work conducted by staffs of the EOC, Governor Henry McMaster’s office, and the SC Department of Education since passage of Act 94 of 2017. The EOC engaged over 6,000 stakeholders during the nearly three years of work, noting the high expectations stakeholders had for students and schools.

“First and foremost, this plan focuses on making sure that all South Carolina students are on track for success in college and careers,” stated Neil Robinson. “I am proud of the EOC for standing up for a system that is going to move our students and our state forward now.”

Ratings for schools

As defined in Act 94 of 2017, schools will receive overall ratings of Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, and Unsatisfactory, terms that were used in the previous state accountability system. These overall ratings were based primarily on the South Carolina results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a national and objective reference point. If the plan is approved by the United States Department of Education, then schools in the fall of 2018 will receive ratings accordingly:

  • one-third of our schools will be rated Excellent (15%) or Good (20%) because one-third of our students score Proficient or Advanced on NAEP ELA or math in grades 4 and 7
  • one-third of our schools will be rated Average (35%) because one-third of our students score Basic on NAEP
  • one-third of our schools will be Below Average (20%) or Unsatisfactory (10%) because onethird of our students score Below Basic

The overall school ratings are based on multiple indicators including:

  • academic achievement
  • academic progress of students in a school from one year to the next
  • academic progress of our most underachieving students in a school from one year to the next
  • growth in English language learners in becoming proficient in English
  • high school graduation rates
  • college and career readiness of our graduating seniors; and student engagement

Detailed information about each of these indicators can be found online. These individual indicators will also receive ratings of Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average and Unsatisfactory as required by state law. There will be no district ratings.

“We recognize that there has been a lot of change in public education over the past three years: new college and career standards, new assessments, and now a new accountability system,” stated Robinson. “It will take all of us working collaboratively – parents, teachers, students, administrators, and legislators to prepare students for success.”

The SC Education Oversight Committee is an independent, non-partisan group made up of 18 educators, business persons, and elected leaders. Created in 1998, the committee is dedicated to reporting facts, measuring change, and promoting progress within South Carolina’s education system.