The state has begun releasing public school report card data on a variety of indicators. Last week it was the "K-3 Literacy Improvement Component." In August, September, October, November, and December of next year I am sure we will have more press releases on the other 19 components of the new report cards.
I am cautious, however, of placing too much emphasis on these report card grades over the next few years as there have been so many changes in the state assessments and we expect more to come. Some examples of the current changes just this year include the following:
1. the move to online testing requiring new skills for students in keyboarding and computer-based tools in grades 3-8,
2. a change to a two-part assessment in grades 3-8 - the first part given in February with new question formats and essay questions and the second part at the end of April which was primarily multiple choice,
3. new online assessments in K-3 with emphasis on different skills, growth, and new grading rubrics in writing,
4. higher cut scores for the Third Grade Guarantee,
5. a completely new assessment in Kindergarten at the beginning of the year,
The state is already reworking the Kindergarten assessment that was given this year and plans to reformat large parts of it. The state is also discussing reformatting the new online assessments in grades 3-8. Finally, cut scores have yet to be set for passage on these tests. Obviously there have been many complications with such a huge overhaul of public school assessment - from technical difficulties to scoring complications to students opting out. All of these complications call into question, in my mind, the validity and reliability of these state assessments.
As with any new process, however, I have every confidence in our Carey staff. As we continue to familiarize ourselves with these new performance measures, we will work hard to align our instructional practices to the benefit of students.
Just like a group of volleyball players that are asked to learn basketball, our educational team has had its first match up. Once we receive our scores this coming fall or winter, we will review our strengths and look to improve areas where we fell short. Our "season" is stretched over years rather than months. So please be patient with us as we learn the skills and rules for the new game that is upon us.