The Achievement Index

As many of you have read in the news lately, the Washington Policy Center has issued a series of A – F grades using our Achievement Index. For a number of reasons, the State Board opposes this approach. We testified against the bill in the state legislature, and we do not use A – F grades in our current Index framework. Board member Kris Mayer wrote a letter in opposition to this approach; it can be read here.

An Index, comprised mostly of test scores, is very useful as an initial evaluative screen. It helps us understand which schools are struggling, but not necessarily why. You can’t label a school or its staff a “failure” by merely looking at test scores in a spreadsheet. You need to understand something more about the school and why the data tells the story it does.

The Board sees meaningful accountability as a partnership with schools. The Index exists not just to rank and grade schools, but to effectuate change – in strategies, funding, and state school improvement supports. An Index that labels schools “failures” without having ever actually taken the time to learn about the school is sending the wrong message. In this case, the emphasis is on punishment, not improvement. Also, the initial label of “failure” becomes nearly impossible to overcome in developing a partnership with the school towards meaningful change.

The State Board will continue to utilize the Index to recognize excellence in our public schools through the Washington Achievement Awards, and as a valuable tool of analysis for all of Washington’s schools. We have never utilized an A – F grading system, and don’t plan to.

This entry was posted in Achievement Index, Assessments. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Achievement Index

  1. Pingback: School Classifications vs. Letter Grades | SBE Sounding Board

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s