Friday, December 21

State's accountability system has bad news for city schools

The state has released its own list of elementary and middle schools in good standing and in need of improvement under No Child Left Behind — and the news isn't great for the city or its progress reports.

The state removed 18 city elementary and middle schools from the list but added 64, bringing the total number of city schools not in good standing to 318. Many schools that received D's and F's on their progress reports are considered in good standing with the state, including at least two of the schools that the DOE has announced it will close this year. And many other schools that received A's and B's made the state's list of failing schools.

City education officials say there is "correlation" between the two lists because as a school's progress report score gets higher, it is more likely to be considered in good standing by the state. Still, the discrepancy between the two lists makes sense; after all, the two accountability systems focus on different things. No Child Left Behind looks only at the percentage of students scoring at proficiency each year, while the progress reports look at individual student improvement over the course of each year. The higher number of failing schools this year on the state's list could have to do with more students being tested, as the Post suggests, or on the fact that the state's requirements are getting stricter each year as we get closer to 2014, when No Child Left Behind expects every child to be proficient on state tests.

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