States meeting ESSA requirements with range of school rating measures
The state of Tennessee will be rating its schools on a scale from 0 - 4 instead of A to F, though education committee members say that numbers are harder for parents to grasp than traditional letter grades, Chalkbeat reports.
Schools will receive a numerical rating in various areas, such as chronic absenteeism; out-of-school suspensions; student readiness for college, career or the military; and a range of student achievement and growth data.
School officials are happy that schools aren’t receiving a single overall letter grade, as they feel it doesn’t reveal in what aspects schools excel, and federal officials should be approving the new assessment plan based on ESSA qualifications soon.
Under ESSA regulations, states must hold schools accountable by rating them. But the regulations require that the ratings system be fair to educators and administrators, and also be easy for parents to understand. The exact method by which this is accomplished, though, is up to the districts as long as they meet the various requirements.
The states diverge so much in how they are implementing school accountability that it seems the ways to do it are endless. For example, on the criteria on which schools are rated, 33 states plan to use a college-and-career readiness measurement, while only nine intend to use a social studies proficiency measure.
Many states, including Tennessee, are creating "accountability dashboards" to be compliant with the ESSA requirement that parents be able to view their school’s ratings. But states are varying in how they are using the dashboards, as well as the presentation of the ratings being viewed by parents. California, for instance, has gotten creative with a color-coded system, which some experts think is great, but federal officials seem to be frowning upon. States also vary as to whether they will give schools overall grades or not.
- Education Week ESSA: Which states are eschewing school grades?
- Education Commission of the States 50-state comparison: states' school accountability systems
- The 74 Million McKenzie: under ESSA, states must hold schools accountable. But their ratings must first be simple enough for parents to understand
- Chalkbeat With A-F grades off the table, Tennessee gets creative about rating its schools under federal law