Data from Fresno Unified School District’s new student accountability system will be released to the public for the first time on Tuesday.
The district is among a handful of CORE districts in the state that received a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements and designed its own formula for how to rate schools.
The new formula aims to focus on more than standardized test scores, with 60 percent of student progress measured by academics and 40 percent measured by “social-emotional and culture-climate” factors, such as suspension and expulsion rates and student and parent surveys.
CORE districts, which also include Los Angeles Unified and San Francisco Unified, are the first in the country to weigh social-emotional aspects in a school accountability system. The new proposed federal school accountability system is looking to do the same.
What we have done is we have made more students visible.
Fresno Unified superintendent Michael Hanson
“What we’ve done isn’t shying away from accountability – we’re actually running toward it,” Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson told the Rotary Club of Fresno on Monday.
“Before, a test score defined what your kid was labeled. We care deeply about growth – we want our teachers and our staff to understand no matter where that child is at the beginning of the year, that their job is to move that child as far and as fast as they can.”
The most important change, though, is the district’s way of tracking sub-populations of students, Hanson said. Before, certain sub-populations, such as race or English-learners, were not tracked at schools with fewer than 100 of those students on campus. Under the new system, the threshold is 20 students, allowing much more data to be gathered and factored.
“What we have done is we have made more students visible,” Hanson said. “In the old way, if you did not have 100 of those students on the campus on a certain date, they literally were not counted. So you could have 90 black kids on your campus, but they never showed up on your accountability reports. Therefore, nobody talked about it and nobody did anything about it, even though they were languishing.”
Said Hanson: “This is going to be one of the better things to happen to the civil rights groups in a long, long time. We are much more certain that we can look a parent in the eye and say we know who your child is and here’s what we’re doing for that subgroup of students.”
The 2014-15 data for CORE schools will be available on Tuesday at coredistricts.org.