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Friday, 12 December 2014 00:00

State Testing & Accountability: School Grades, PACE Reports

CSD schools’ performance is holding steady, with some improvement, on the state’s accountability reports for student achievement, according to data issued Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 by the Utah State Office of Education. The Utah School Grading reports show that 35 CSD schools, up from 34 schools in 2014, have earned A or B grades. No CSD schools received failing grades.

“We celebrate student achievements on the School Grading and PACE reports, and we congratulate our educators and educational leaders on the work they continue to do to ensure students are ready for college and careers,” Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said. “That said, we know that we still have work to do to make sure all students are proficient in core subjects and well prepared for future success.”

The State Office of Education on Tuesday released two Utah school accountability reports: School Grading, and PACE. School Grading was implemented in 2013 in accordance with state law. PACE was implemented in 2014 as part of Gov. Gary Herbert's plan to ensure Utah is on pace to have 66 percent of all working-age Utahns hold a post-secondary degree or certification by the year 2020. This plan involves performance goals for kindergartners all the way through college students. 

There is considerable overlap between the PACE accountability report and School Grading.  Key differences largely center on the points students and schools can earn for growth in academic achievement and college-readiness measures.  PACE reports show how well students are doing on the Utah Core Standards in multiple ways. School Grading is intended to simplify the multiple measures into a single letter grade.

To view individual school PACE or School Grading reports, please visit the State Office of Education’s Data Gateway

Here’s a look at what each report includes:

What's included in PACE and School Grading?

 

PACE School Grading
Academic Achievement

For both reports, academic achievement is measured using SAGE data. SAGE is administered to students in the following grades and subjects: English Language Arts, grades 3-11; Math, grades 3-11; Science, grades 4-8; and biology, chemistry, and physics in high school.

College-Readiness: Graduation Rate

For both reports, the graduation rate is used as a high school indicator of College Readiness (4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate).

Students

Students need to have 160 days of school membership to be included in Achievement and Growth.  Additionally, a school must test at least 95% of their students.

Growth Calculations

To account for year-to-year student growth, a Student Growth Percentile (SGP) is calculated for each student by the Utah State Office of Education.  This requires two steps:

1.     Establish peer groups of students who performed comparably on an initial assessment (SAGE 2014);

2.     Compare the growth of students within those peer groups using the second assessment, 2015 SAGE.

In this way, the growth of initially low performing students is compared only with other low performing students; the growth of initially medium performing students is compared with other medium performing students; and the growth of initially high performing students is compared with other high performing students.

Every student with two years of testing has a Student Growth Percentile.

All Student Growth

School or subject area growth is calculated by taking the Median SGP of all students.  The higher the median, the more points earned by the school.

A student must earn a growth percentile (SGP) of 40 or higher to achieve Sufficient Growth and attain growth points for the school.

Below-Proficient Student Growth

Same as All Student Growth but only includes students scoring Below Proficient in the calculation.

Same as All Student Growth but only includes students scoring Below Proficient in the calculation.

College-Readiness: ACT Scores Reports the percent of students who earn a composite score of 18 or higher. Reports the percent of students who score at the proficiency lever or higher for all four College Readiness Benchmarks (i.e. math, reading, English, science).
Academic

Outcomes

Reports multiple data points and comparisons. The first page includes well-labeled graphs and tables, the second lists points earned by the school in key areas, and the third page includes data for federal accountability reports.

This report factors to a single letter grade (i.e. A, B, C, D or F).



 

What is PACE?

PACE is Governor Gary Herbert’s plan to ensure Utah is on pace to have 66 percent of all working-age Utah residents hold a post-secondary degree or certification by the year 2020.  This plan includes performance goals for kindergartners through college students.  There are four key aspects of PACE:
 

P – Prepare Young Learners

A – Access for All Students

C – Complete Certificates and Degrees

E – Economy Success

For public schools, the focus is on “Prepare Young Learners” and “Access for All Students.”  The Governor, the Utah State Board of Education, and other education leaders designed several metrics to measure Utah’s progress toward the 66% by 2020 goal.  The PACE report charts the progress of schools in meeting these goals.  The measures and calculations of the previous UCAS school accountability reports are included in the PACE report. 

PACE progress is measured using existing statewide assessments. The PACE report also is used for federal accountability purposes.

What is School Grading?

In the 2013 General Session, the Utah Legislature passed the School Grading bill. This created a second accountability report for Utah.  It does not replace the PACE report.

There is considerable overlap between Governor’s PACE accountability report and School Grading.  The key differences largely pertain to the number of points students and schools can earn for growth on academic achievement and college-readiness measures.  PACE reports present many charts and data points to illustrate how well students are doing on the Utah Core Standards. School Grading factors many data points into a single letter grade per school.

How Do PACE and School Grading Differ?

There is considerable overlap between the PACE accountability report and School Grading. Both use SAGE test data, high school graduation rates, growth calculations, and ACT scores. Key differences largely revolve around how many points schools can earn for student achievement levels and growth. PACE gives multiple data points; School Grading factors the data into a single letter grade.

Does Student Participation on Tests Affect School Grades?

Yes. If fewer than 95% of students participate in SAGE tests, the school’s grade will be lowered by one letter grade. If the participation rate is less than 95% for Below Proficient Students, the grade also will be lowered by one grade.

What Do PACE Reports Highlight?

PACE reports uphold a 90 percent proficiency goal in select subjects and grades, and highlight student achievement in the following areas:

90% proficiency in 3rd grade Reading (AIMSweb test performance)
90% proficiency in 3rd grade Math (SAGE test performance)
90% proficiency in 6rd grade Reading/Language Arts (SAGE test performance)
90% proficiency in 6rd grade Math (SAGE test performance)
90% of students reaching a composite score of 18 on the ACT (ACT test performance)
90% high school graduation rate

Does PACE Include Consequences for Schools?

There are no consequences for not meeting the PACE goals.  The public reports are meant to be readily understood by the public and add transparency to K-16 progress.

How Does School Grading and PACE Inform Parents?

Both School Grading and PACE reports help to show how well students are learning State Standards in math, language arts and science.  It is recommended that parents examine content area results to gain a more complete understanding of a school’s strengths and weaknesses.

It is important to remember that not all grades and Core Curriculum subjects are included in PACE/School Grading because not all grades and courses have a SAGE assessment. These include student performance in grades K-2, Social Studies, World Languages, Health, the Arts, and Physical Education. Additionally, high school performance is not fully represented in the reports. This is because because Math and Science SAGE results do not include all students, including those taking rigorous Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes.

How Does School Grading and PACE Inform Schools?

Canyons School District educators are encouraged to utilize accountability reports in addition to other student performance measures contained in the District’s Academic Framework to set goals for student achievement.  School leaders are encouraged to dialogue with their School Community Councils about student achievement, and communicate goals and plans to their communities.
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