Check out “My Schools Performance” from the WV Department of Education to see how our schools rank under the new accountability system. http://wvde.state.wv.us/esea/performance/
HUNTINGTON — Two of Cabell County’s 26 schools achieved the highest ranking, Success, in West Virginia’s new accountability system based on student results on the WESTEST 2.
Fourteen others received the second-highest designation, Transition, meaning they met one of two overall standards in the plan put forth by state education officials after receiving a waiver from the federal government on the No Child Left Behind regulations.
The data released Wednesday by the West Virginia Department of Education revealed that 435 schools in the state were in one those two categories, while 217 others — including 10 in Cabell County — need additional support on both the local and state level.
Those schools fall into one of three categories — Focus, Support or Priority schools — all of which signify a school has work to do and, in some cases, means state education officials make a diagnostic visit and assist with an improvement plan.
State officials said that is what the new system was created for — to better identify which schools and students need the most help. According to a news release from the state Department of Education, the new accountability system “more effectively identifies struggling schools, provides individual student growth data, better directs resources to struggling schools and recognizes schools that are doing well.”
“We truly believe it gives more accurate information about students,” spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said. “It’s no longer just pass or fail like it was under No Child Left Behind.”
Under the new accountability system, schools and students receive a score for factors such as whether students are meeting grade level expectations, how much a school has closed its achievement gap between groups of students, and how much students are improving academically no matter their current level of performance.
The 184 Success schools — including Ona and Nichols elementary schools in Cabell County and 23 others in Wayne, Lincoln, Putnam and Mason counties — earned that distinction because a majority of their students met annual academic goals in math and English/language arts while also reaching goals in attendance or graduation rates, student academic growth, student success on the WESTEST 2 and learning gaps between student groups.
A Transition school is one that meets either the academic goals in math and English/language arts or all of the latter standards.
Cordeiro said the new system significantly improves upon the “adequate yearly progress” benchmark system under No Child Left Behind because subgroups, if not large enough, could perform poorly at a school. But if there were enough students who reached the pre-set proficiency marks, the school was still rewarded with a “met AYP” designation.
“So, a school making AYP might have a whole student group that hasn’t shown growth or proficiency,” she said. “It was like that group of kids got lost in the shuffle.”
She said the new system and the data it provides allow teachers and principals to create targeted improvement plans. In addition, poorly performing schools will receive help from the state department, Cordeiro said.
In Cabell County, that means the 14 Transition schools will complete a targeted strategic plan and be monitored occasionally for progress. The school system can also partner with the Regional Education Service Agency and others to provide professional development, technical assistance and intervention. Schools also must show progress in student achievement each year to maintain or improve the designation.
The two schools that were pegged as Success schools — Nichols and Ona elementary schools — must continue to make progress to maintain the designation.
“We are encouraged by it,” said Cabell County Assistant Superintendent Jeff Smith on the number of Success and Transition schools. “We have a plan to work with all our schools to develop strategic plans in the coming year.”
Cabell County’s four Focus schools include Southside Elementary, Barboursville Middle, Huntington Middle and Cabell Midland High School. That designation means learning gaps based on academic progress between student groups were too large. In high schools, it means the graduation gap was too large.
Those schools will receive help from a Focus Assistance Support Team made up of staff with school-level expertise related to each student group, with members from the local, regional and state level.
These schools also will implement the West Virginia School Improvement Framework, which includes a diagnostic visit and report and improvement plan.
Cabell County also has four Support schools, which include Highlawn, Spring Hill and Central City elementary schools and Huntington High School.
Support designation means a majority of student groups have not met the annual academic goals in math and English/language arts and also have not reached goals in attendance or graduation rates, student academic growth, student success on WESTEST 2, and learning gaps between student groups. The school will receive additional support, mainly from the local school district.
Cabell’s Priority schools include Peyton Elementary and Enslow Middle. Enslow no longer exists because it consolidated with Beverly Hills to create Huntington East Middle. But the new student body will still be closely monitored.
Peyton already has received a site visit from the state and an improvement plan is being developed. In addition, a school improvement coordinator will be assigned to the school.
Statewide, the data showed:
From 2012 to 2013, the number of students who met the proficiency mark on the WESTEST 2 decreased.
Data indicate that West Virginia students are not closing the gap fast enough to meet national expectations.
Of the students who did not meet proficiency rates in math, 73 percent showed no academic improvement.
Of the students who did not meet proficiency rates in reading, 68 percent showed no academic improvement.
“It is important for our schools to understand that the new accountability system is not about comparing one school to another,” state Superintendent James Phares said. “The system is about keeping your eye on the finishing line despite where a student starts and moving that individual student forward to proficiency.”
Individual school information is available at http://wvde.state.wv.us/esea/performance/scores.php.
The information includes scores for each school based on the number of students at grade level expectations (proficiency), how much the school has closed its achievement gap between groups of students (achievement gaps closed), how much students are improving no matter where they start (observed growth), how close students are from reaching their grade level expectations (adequate growth) and attendance rates.