Georgia will release new school grades this week. Anybody care?

In 2014, before the state rolled out its new school rating system, four officials with the state Department of Education briefed the AJC education staff on the nuances of the College and Career Ready Performance Index.

It’s a shame they couldn’t make house calls as I think many parents still don’t get CCRPI, which replaced the overly simplistic Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP ratings. DOE plans to release the latest set of school grades Thursday.

My question: Are parents focused at all on these state grades?

The CCRPI grades schools on a 1 to 100 score, which is seen as more parent friendly than AYP. The notion is that parents understand what a 100 is on a test, so they can easily grasp that a 65 is a problem and a 91 is a plus. The scores are supposed to show which schools need intervention and guidance from the state, and provide parents insights into the quality of the teaching and administration at each school.

While parents understand that 95 is better an 85, I’m not sure parents understand the other factors that determine a school’s final grade. An obvious and familiar consideration is how well students perform on the Georgia Milestones tests. But “progresss” also counts. Even low scores, if they are higher than previous years and higher than what similar students elsewhere attained, can raise a school’s standing. Schools also are graded on whether they narrow the achievement gap. And they earn extra points for the number of students who take AP classes.

Along the way, DOE has tweaked CCRPI. In 2015, the Georgia Board of Education amended the “weights” used in calculating school performance, downplaying raw test achievement in favor of “growth” in the state’s report card for schools and school districts. That change was seen as a boost to schools serving low-income students who typically lag in achievement but may show considerable progress or growth, which is determined by a complex formula that compares a student’s performance to that of similar peers.

I asked educators and parents on AJC Get Schooled Facebook whether the CCRPI grade is useful and whether parents understand what contributes to it. Here are some responses:

•The goal isn’t to create a scoring system that is easy to understand, relevant, meaningful or fair. The goal is ranking schools and students to create the appearance that public schools are failing.

•It’s interesting to look at the information and I’ll sometimes use it to share data with people who aren’t local. If I were moving, I would use the reports. Otherwise? Meh.

1) I can’t change the school my children attend without moving so knowing how my school stacks up won’t change what they get.

2) The things parents can influence at a school are not included on this report. (Except maybe as placing another line item on the list of accomplishments.)

3) My school district does not want parent involvement in the areas that are listed on the report.

I suspect this report is why some schools have become AP mills and why teachers now spend so much class time focused specifically on the tests. That having been said, I think that measuring schools is a probably a good idea to keep them on their toes. I’m not convinced this is the best set of measurements but it appears to be an adequate start. I haven’t spent much time looking into the impact of unintended consequences from these specific measures nor what other measures would be better. It is very difficult to quantify quality. As far as your direct question – I don’t think I’ve ever actually looked at the numerical score itself. I just read through the four-page document provided on the county school website.

•Parents care if the teachers care about their kids. Most parents are aware that Deal and all those at the top are trying to sell public schools off to charter schools. So, in answer to your question — as a parent— no, I don’t care.

•I look at them, and like most measures of school so-called success, the scores seem to mirror demographics.

Your view on CCRPI?

Reader Comments 0

10 comments
Starik
Starik

Parents shouldn't use these statistics in choosing schools for their kids; to the extent that they work at all they judge the performance of school staff, not the achievement of the students. 

Dan Whisenhunt
Dan Whisenhunt

No. These metrics will change three more times by the time my son starts Kindergarten.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

“Are parents focused at all on these state grades?”

Can’t speak for parents, however…

I offer a prediction at the end of “A Look under CCRPI Scores at Achievement, Progress & Content Mastery, 2012 through 2016.”

And here is what a staff writer at The Hechinger Report emailed me in response to my “APS Leadership, ignoring what God said: ‘Let there be light’”:

“I wrote a story about a similar increased gap in test scores when the first Common Core tests were coming out in Illinois and Massachusetts. I came to the same conclusions -- that certain students were being taught how to learn and others were being taught how to take tests. When the assessments change, those who were just taught to take tests saw their scores drop significantly more.”

Tiersa Holmes McClardy
Tiersa Holmes McClardy

As a teacher yes; as a parent no. CCRPI changes every year; its designed to set our children and schools up for failure. Goals for most students and schools are mostly unattainable based on deficiencies in Reading/Math for many. CCRPI is also designed to take over certain school districts and turn them over to charter companies and line the pockets of The Haves...

dsw2contributor
dsw2contributor

I view CCRPIs as being like city bond ratings: they are a report card issued by an independent, outside agency.  Only a small number of experts (the people making the calculations and school leaders) truly understand how the ratings are made.


While the rest of us will not fully understand how CCRPIs are calculated, we still need to pay attention to the numbers since they tell us just how good (or bad!!!) of a job our superintendents, regional superintendents, principals and other school leaders are doing!


If a city's bond rating is dropped, it means the mayor is doing a sucky job.  When the rating goes back up, the mayor is doing a good job.


Similarly, when the average CCRPI in a school district drops, the school superintendent is sucking at their job.

BRV
BRV

Study after study regarding how parents select schools has shown that student demographics and other non-academic factors have the greatest influence on where parents send their children to school. Of course given the high level of segregation by race and income in schools we probably don’t need studies to tell us that parents use student demographics as a proxy for school quality. School grading systems are at best secondary considerations for most parents and are frequently entirely ignored.

OTOH, these grading schemes are very important to politicians and the many people who depend on the “education reform” industry to pay their bills. For politicians it’s both CYA material that they’re doing something meaningful and a tool for promoting whichever policies, charters, vouchers, whatever, they happen to favor at any given time.

For the market fetishists of ed reform these grades are the clothing they like to pretend the emperor is wearing. We know that parents very often don’t select schools using test scores and school grades as the primary consideration, but school grades give the fetishists some cover for the continuing charade where we’re supposed to believe that efficient market theory applies to education despite the mountain of evidence that it doesn’t.

2alt.ajc
2alt.ajc

Parents care very much about how their neighborhood school compares to others. Teachers' union militants and their media allies will apparently continue to pretend otherwise.

kaelyn
kaelyn

Nope. I don’t pay any attention to CCRPI scores. They don’t mean anything. Parent reviews mean more to me than a bunch of irrelevant numbers from the state.

Astropig
Astropig

"Parents care if the teachers care about their kids. Most parents are aware that Deal and all those at the top are trying to sell public schools off to charter schools. So, in answer to your question — as a parent— no, I don’t care."


Well, maybe one or two cherry-picked commentators feel this way. Anybody that claims to speak for "most parents" is probably an ideologue that  sees a boogeyman behind every tree.


This comment seems to be the real point of the article-We don't really care,but  by the way,Nathan Deal is evil.


Less is more.Being too obvious insults some people's intelligence.