Nevada education officials on June 7 released ratings for all schools under a new performance report designed with accountability and assessment in mind.
The state’s Department of Education released the first Nevada School Performance Framework, measuring data from all Nevada public schools in the 2011-2012 year.
The ratings given:
5-Star – Pahranagat Valley High
4-Star – Lincoln County High
3-Star – Caliente Elementary, Panaca Elementary, Pioche Elementary, Meadow Valley Middle School, Pahranagat Valley Middle School,
2-Star – Pahranagat Elementary
C.O. Bastian schools at the Caliente Youth Center were not rated.
According to the department, schools were given a one to five-star rating based on the following indicators:
- Student proficiency on state assessments;
- Student growth towards proficiency on state assessments;
- Reduction of gaps in achievement of special population groups;
- College and career readiness for high schools;
- Graduation for high schools.
Lincoln County School Superintendent Nykki Holton said this new system replaces the old system of rating schools called Approaching Standards, Meeting Standards, Exceeding Standards.
The new Performance Framework noted 19 percent of schools measured received a five-star rating. That equated to 112 Nevada public schools.
In comparison, 20 percent of schools scored one or two-star ratings, which equates to 119 schools.
The Department of Education said the 2011-2012 ranking is serving as preparation for the September release of a 2012-2013 report.
Holton said she had some concerns the star-rating system is not really going to be the “magic bullet” the Education Department hopes it will be, saying, “It is supposed to show not only how the students are doing in growing academically, but how they are also progressing over a given period of time. But as this is the first year of the new program, the measurement over time cannot not be used just yet.”
She voiced concerns on another aspect of the new system, because one of the classifications being used in the growth model is “Other indicators,” but the only other indicator is attendance. She explained, “Attendance has to be at 97 percent or you don’t get the points. And in the small classes like we have in Lincoln County, for example, if a student in a class of seven, misses just two days in the entire year, you will fall below the required attendance percentage and won’t get the points. It’s not fair to have the attendance be so high and have that be the only indicator in the growth model. Just having an outbreak of the flu, with kids out for two or three days, will ruin the schools chance to get the full points. There needs to be a few other factors in the Indicator column.”
She pointed out, “Pahranagat Elementary would have had a 5-star rating, but got hit with the flu bug at one point during the school year, and that’s what cost them. Otherwise, they are a high performing school, and I’m not at all worried about them.”
Holton thinks that for now, the attendance indicator is a problem, but it will most likely be figured out soon.
Overall, she said she was “pretty pleased with how we are ranked, our academics in the district are really good. And around the state, we are normally right up there with the best of them, usually in the top three overall, but this new star system might change that somewhat.”
PVHS Principal Mike Strong said they were very excited to receive the highest rating. “Our staff does a really good job and the kids we have in the school do a real nice job in all the areas that are looked at. As a school, we hope that we do some pretty good things for kids, and it showed with the rating.”
Lincoln County High principal Marty Soderborg was not available for comment.
You can view the full ranking at http://nspf.doe.nv.gov/.