MDE’s NCLB Flexibility Waiver Approved
In a recent press release, the Michigan Department of Education announced that its application for an NCLB flexibility (ESEA) waiver was approved. The approval allows MDE to move forward with a number of changes in the way that Michigan schools are held accountable for student achievement. The waiver allows the modification of current accountability standards to reflect the new cuts scores and eliminates the requirement of 100 percent proficiency by 2014 and identification of all schools not making AYP. Had the waiver not been approved the number of schools not making AYP would have dramatically increased.
How does this help schools?
- Supports career- and college-ready focus for all students.
- Increases focus on accelerating student achievement and closing achievement gaps.
- Helps to enhance system supports and to target resources.
Here is a quick preview of some of the changes you will see during the 2012-13 school year:
- AYP targets will be reset based on the new cut scores. School swill continue to either “make” or “not make” AYP.
- District AYP will be re-addressed
- The AYP Graduation rate will include all subgroups
- Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) Schools will now be called Priority Schools. These will be the lowest 5 percent of the Top to Bottom list (approximately 140 schools).
- Focus Schools will be identified. Focus schools are those with the largest achievement gaps based on the Top to Bottom list achievement gap measures. This will be approximately 14 percent of schools (approximately 300 schools/120 districts).
- Reward Schools will be identified. Reward schools are high performing and are in the top 5 percent of the Top to Bottom list.
In 2013-14 we can expect:
- Accountability Scorecards: This concept will replace AYP. There will be differentiated targets for each school based on getting to 85 percent proficient in 10 years. The subgroup targets will mirror the achievement targets for the school. Safe harbor will be based on a four-year improvement slope. Reporting will be in the form of a 5 rating, color-coded system rather than simply “make” or “did not make” AYP.
So what’s the bottom line? The identification of Focus schools this year will be a major change. Focus schools are those with the largest achievement gap, where achievement gap is defined as the difference between the average scale score for the top 30 percent of students and the bottom 30 percent of students. This will be calculated on the bottom 30 percent of ALL students (regardless of subgroup). This category is likely to include some very high achieving schools that are not accustom to MDE interventions. It is the composite score gap that will place a school on the Focus list.
Now that the waiver has been approved, MDE will begin the work of resetting the various formulas to generate the data to create the Top to Bottom list that provides the basis for identifying: Priority, Focus and Reward schools. This information should be made available to all Districts approximately mid-August.