By ROBERTA LENGER KANG
As we near the end of a school year, our focus naturally begins to shift towards understanding our school’s data and making plans for next year, particularly as we sit down to develop the state mandated Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP). This is where ESSA policies begin to hit close to home.
We’ve already explored the major differences between NCLB and ESSA, and the ways NYS is breaking down accountability into different components. We know that ESSA primarily measures effectiveness by comparing schools with one another, and that the number of accountability measures has doubled under ESSA. Now, the most important thing to understand is how these new components will be measured, and how those measurements determine accountability.
Statewide rankings and long-term goals
NYSED has developed two rating methods: statewide rankings, and annual and long-term goals.
Statewide rankings measure the following components:
Ranking performance across the state is exactly what it sounds like. In three of the seven components, the state will rank order the performance of every school and then assign a Performance Level on a scale of 1-4. Performance across the state will be ranked without making any considerations for enrollment demographics. Large or small, vocational or specialized, urban, suburban or rural — all schools across the state will be compared and rank ordered by performance.
The following components are measured by annual and long-term goals:
In addition to ranking school performance, the NYSED has developed a system for statewide growth based on short- and long-term goals.
Here’s how it works:
For each of the four components list above, NYSED has identified a statewide end goal to represent the ultimate expectations for schools in New York.
Then, using data from 2016 and 2017, the state identified baseline data points for every school. The difference between the Baseline and the End Goal is called the gap.
In order to close the gap between current school performance and the End Goal, the state has identified long-term goals, which require schools to close 20% of the gap within 5 years.
The state divides the Long-Term Goals evenly across the five years to determine annual goals called Measures of Interim Progress or MIPs.
Measures of Interim Progress
MIPs are preset, annual goals that are established in five year sets as they build toward the Long Term Goal. There are two types of MIPs: an individual school MIP aligned to the school’s baseline data, and a statewide MIP, aligned to the state’s baseline data. MIPs require schools to increase 4% every year, starting from their baseline. MIPs do not fluctuate based on year-to-year performance.
At the end of each year, every school will be measured by their ability to meet their school’s individual MIP, as well as the State MIP. If a school is performing below the statewide average, their school MIP will be their lower goal. If a school is performing above the statewide average, the school MIP will be their higher goal.
Schools will be assigned a Performance Level 1-4 based on their ability to meet or exceed their MIPs.
In 2018, 95% of New York schools were designated to be in good standing for the 2018-19 school year. Performance data at the end of the 2018-19 school year will be used to determine the accountability status under ESSA’s system for the first time.
Every ESSA component, whether measured by statewide ranking or MIPs, will receive a rating of Level 1 through 4, and then each of those levels will be used to determine the accountability status of the school. The two accountability pathways are Comprehensive School Improvement (CSI) and Targeted School Improvement (TSI). While the pathway to accountability is the same for CSI and TSI, CSI is reserved for schools who are struggling to meet the needs of the “all students” group, while TSI can be triggered by subgroups (either by ethnicity, students with disabilities, English Language Learners, or economically disadvantaged).
Following the old saying, “three strikes and you’re out,” these are scenarios that trigger CSI or TSI:
So what’s next? With a solid understanding of the methods for evaluation, you can begin looking closely at your school’s data, your goals, and where you might be in danger of triggering TSI or CSI. With advanced planning and support, you can use this data to inform your CEP goals, target areas for improvement for next year, and highlight areas for increased professional development.
If you’d like help breaking down your ESSA data, contact us for a free consultation, or consider joining our Exploring ESSA: Unpacking State Accountability online course.