Under a new school accountability system for Fresno Unified, a school with the best test scores may not be labeled as the best school in the district.
The first-ever results from the new student achievement formula for CORE districts were released on Tuesday. The system focuses on factors in addition to academics, including chronic absenteeism, suspensions and expulsions, and English proficiency for students whose first language is not English.
CORE districts, including Fresno Unified, Los Angeles Unified and San Francisco Unified, received a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind requirements and designed their own formula for how to rate schools. Under the formula, academics account for 60 percent of student progress and “social-emotional and culture-climate” factors account for 40 percent.
The new system also focuses on subpopulations of students, allowing schools to better track minorities, English learners and other groups.
Duncan Polytechnical High School received the highest score of the district’s high schools, with a total of 76 points out of 100. However, the school did not receive the highest test scores in the district; 46 percent of students met English standards and 12 percent hit the math mark.
The total score takes into account the school’s 8 percent chronically absent student rate; 2 percent suspension/expulsion rate and 15 percent English learner redesignation rate.
We’re providing a more complete picture of school quality.
Noah Bookman, chief accountability officer for CORE
Design Science Early College High School received the highest test scores in 2015, with 87 percent meeting English standards and 48 percent meeting math standards, but there was no CORE score released for the school. A CORE representative said Tuesday that is likely due to missing or limited data.
Edison High got 72 points out of 100; Bullard High, 61; Sunnyside High, 57; Hoover, 52; Roosevelt, 48; Fresno High, 46; and McLane High, 39.
McLane had among the most absences of Fresno Unified high schools in 2015, with 25 percent labeled as chronically absent.
Fresno and Hoover had among the highest suspension and expulsion rates, with 9 percent of students kicked out of school in some form.
Results were not released for Cambridge High, the Center for Advanced Research and Technology, DeWolf High or the Patiño School of Entrepreneurship.
Because these are the first public results, 2015 will be considered a base year and will not be compared to previous scores.
The CORE’s new School Quality Index is a significant and innovative tool to ensure we are meeting the needs of all students.
Michael Hanson, Fresno Unified superintendent
In a statement Tuesday, Fresno Unified superintendent Michael Hanson said the new index is “based on meaningful measurements that can be acted upon in real time to improve student learning and achievement.”
“The CORE’s new School Quality Index is a significant and innovative tool to ensure we are meeting the needs of all students. In addition to academic achievement, the index includes a first in the nation – the use of social, emotional learning and school climate indicators. The index also makes more students visible by including results for any student group with 20 or more students,” he said.
What these new scores will mean for school districts is still being determined, as a new federal accountability system could be underway.
“It’s not clear what the formal accountability system will be going forward in the state of California, but from the get-go, the purpose of this more multimeasured, holistic system was about giving schools a more complete picture of how they are performing,” said Noah Bookman, chief accountability officer for CORE.
“In a traditional state or federal accountability system, the metrics used to focus on English language arts, math and graduation rates. Now, we’re providing a more complete picture of school quality.”
Scores for middle and elementary schools can be found on coredistricts.org.