New York City is overhauling its system for evaluating schools, de-emphasizing test scores in favor of measures like the strength of the curriculum and the school environment, and doing away with an overall A-through-F grade for each school, the schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, said on Tuesday.
Under the old system, instituted under Mr. Bloomberg in 2006, schools received annual progress reports. Those reports included an overall letter grade, as well as separate grades in four categories: student progress, overall student performance, the school environment (based on attendance rates and the results of an annual survey of students, parents, and teachers) and improvement made by the lowest performing students, by English language learners and by students with disabilities. For elementary and middle schools, 85 percent of the overall letter grade was based on test scores.
The new assessments, which will be released for the first time later this fall, will take two forms: a School Quality Snapshot, directed at parents; and a more comprehensive School Quality Guide, designed for school leaders.
The snapshot ranks the school from poor to excellent on questions like “How interesting and challenging is the curriculum?” and “How clearly are high expectations communicated to students and staff?”
It lists the results, compared with city and district averages, from five questions on the school survey, including the percentage of parents who are satisfied with their children’s education and the percentage of students who feel safe at school.
It also rates the school from poor to excellent on students’ improvement on state English and math tests, both for all students and for specific categories of students, and it has a category showing how students perform at the next level of their education.
Is this an improvement or is it merely shifting the metrics from mostly test scores to test scores, school surveys and the "category showing how students perform at the next level of their education"?
I don't buy how a student does after they graduate high school is directly affected by the quality of their high school.
There's probably a slight correlation between quality of school and what happens to a student afterwards.
Nonetheless this is the trajectory of the new school report card metric.
There is going to be enormous pressure to get every student to attend a college directly after high school whether that is the right decision for them or not.
And you can bet the for-profit colleges are going to lick their lips at this.
I get the need to measure outcomes, especially in the day and age of the All-Mighty Data, but whatever you measure in education tends to get fetishized and has consequences that were often not seen beforehand or intended.
And some of those consequences aren't so good.
That's going to happen with these changes to the school report card/progress reports.