As Part of Mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative, Schools Are Held Accountable for Progress Made by Black and Latino Males
Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today released the 2011 Elementary and Middle School Progress Reports, given to 1,219 schools serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The reports award letter grades to schools based on student progress, performance, and student attendance, as well as feedback from parents, students, and teachers about their schools. As in previous years, schools received additional credit for progress made with students with disabilities and English Language Learners. This year, new measures recognize schools making exemplary gains with academically struggling black and Latino males in the lowest third citywide. Reports also include new information about how middle schools are preparing students for success in high school, college and careers.
“Every year these reports have helped drive progress in our schools, so it’s important we set the right goals for success,” said Chancellor Walcott. “By acknowledging progress in schools that help struggling students, we can keep more students on track during elementary and middle school.”
“This year’s reports make clear that principals should be focusing their attention on preparing students for success after high school, and on helping struggling students beat the odds,” said Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky. “We have re-designed the reports to give educators and families access to clearer, more useful information about their schools.”
For the second straight year, the Progress Reports control for New York State’s continued changes to its exams in grades 3-8 by comparing elementary and middle schools to one another to determine grades, rather than setting target scores like the high school Progress Reports. The City also increased the percentage of schools receiving D and F grades, from five percent last year, to 10 percent this year. This year, the top 25 percent of schools received an A, 35 percent received a B, 30 percent received a C, 7 percent received a D, and the bottom 3 percent received an F. This year’s results for elementary, middle, K-8, early childhood, and select District 75 schools include:
- 298 schools received an A, 411 received a B, 354 received a C, 79 received a D, and 32 received an F. 45 new schools and schools in phase out received reports with no grade.
- Grades remained stable across the city and for individual schools, as 88 percent of schools did not change more than one grade from 2010; 99 percent of schools were within two grades.
- Queens was the highest performing borough and District 26 was the highest performing district.
- Charter schools earned a higher percentage of As, and had a higher average percentile rank than district schools, led by the 56% of charter middle schools that earned an A.
To help address persistent disparities in performance among black and Latino male students, in August Mayor Bloomberg announced new accountability measures as part of his citywide Young Men’s Initiative. This year, the Progress Report awards additional credit to schools making significant gains with black and Latino males whose prior performance is within the lowest third citywide. Also for the first time, additional credit is awarded to schools that are moving students with disabilities to more inclusive settings.
As the City begins to align its curriculum and teaching with the new Common Core State Standards, it will focus more on whether teachers are asking students to defend arguments, solve complex problems, and perform real experiments—tasks that involve critical thinking and higher-order skills. To evaluate those deeper learning outcomes necessary for success in high school and beyond, middle school Progress Reports now measure the percentage of students who earned a passing grade in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies core academic courses, as well as the percentage of 8th graders who earned high school credit in accelerated courses. Schools will be held accountable for these outcomes on the Progress Report next year.
After gathering feedback from families and school communities, the Department of Education this year redesigned the Progress Report layout to provide a better explanation of its methodology, and make the results clearer and more useful to schools and the public.
Progress Reports for elementary, middle, K-8, early childhood, and select District 75 schools are now available on the Department of Education’s web site, along with Progress Report Overviews, designed to explain highlights of each school’s report to families. Progress Reports for high schools will be released in October.
Progress Report Methodology
The Progress Report measures students’ year-to-year progress, compares the school to other schools with similar students, and rewards success in moving all children forward, especially those with the greatest needs. The Progress Report is designed to differentiate among schools in a way that provides educators with performance data, supports parents in choosing schools, and informs DOE school intervention and support decisions.
The methodology takes into account the different challenges schools face so that the evaluations are a reflection of what the school contributes to the student, not what the student brings to the school.
Progress Reports give each school an overall letter grade based on three categories: student progress (60 percent), student performance (25 percent), and school environment (15 percent). The student progress component measures how well schools are helping students improve from one year to the next. The student performance component measures student proficiency in reading and math. The school environment component compiles the results of surveys taken by parents, students, and teachers at each school last spring, as well as student attendance rates. Schools can also earn additional credit by achieving exemplary gains with high-need students.
Seventy-five percent of a school’s Progress Report score comes from comparing the school’s results to the 40 or so other schools in the City that serve the most similar student populations. The remaining 25 percent of a school’s score is based on a comparison with all schools citywide that serve the same grade levels.
The Progress Report is one of several measures that make up the City’s accountability system for schools. The Quality Review consists of an observation conducted by an experienced educator, evaluating how well a school is organized to educate its students. The annual School Survey, which factors in to the Progress Report, received responses from over 960,000 parents, students, and teachers about the academic expectations, communications, level of engagement, and degree of safety and respect at their schools.
Learn more about the Progress Report at: http://schools.nyc.gov/ProgressReport. Information about other aspects of the City’s accountability system is available at: http://schools.nyc.gov/accountability.