Yesterday morning the Iowa Department of Education released the new online reporting website which describes how schools are performing as outlined by the new and updated Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). You may recall a prior version of this federal law, which was known as 'No Child Left Behind' (NCLB). The re-authorization of the law is titled the 'Every Student Succeeds Act' and replaces the punitive measures that were a mainstay of NCLB. Yesterday's release meets the [federal] school accountability requirements of the law. While schools are still designated as having met or not met the prescribed benchmarks, punitive measures are no longer used as a hammer for school districts. Instead, the law is designed to provide supports and assistance to school districts that have been designated as needing comprehensive or targeted assistance.
As mentioned above, when designating a school or school district there are two different categories in which a school district can be identified for assistance: comprehensive or targeted. A school that is designated as needing comprehensive assistance means the school has not met the prescribed benchmarks. On the other hand, schools designated as receiving targeted assistance would indicate a school district where a subgroup is not meeting benchmark.
There are a number of criteria used to make the determination, including participation in the statewide assessment, graduation rate, proficiency, and growth. This is not an exhaustive list, so you can read more about these indicators, the others used, and the formula applied in the calculation of the designation by reading the report. This new system marks a significant change in determining school designations. In the past, a heavy reliance was placed on proficiency; whereas under this new model more emphasis is placed on the growth that a student makes along with the other indicators described in the report. That could be the reason why some school districts with high proficiency find themselves on this new list.
Nevertheless, I am happy to report that all schools in the Hudson Community School District have met the targets as outlined in the Iowa School Performance Profile. You can view our results by clicking right here. We are very proud of the academic performance of our students and of the hard work our teachers put in each and every day on behalf of the children of this community.
At the same time we recognize that work remains. While this result is good, we are still working to better understand some of the internal variables, mechanisms, and nuances of the reporting criteria. Why is this? Because we want to be better than good! We are now making preparations for a new statewide assessment that is better aligned to the content taught in our classrooms. We anticipate this assessment will enable us to further fine tune and target our instructional practices in a manner that takes our achievement to the next level and further closes the achievement gap.