READY Model Provides New System To Measure Public School Success
The State Board of Education approved its final ABCs of Public Education school accountability report earlier this month. With this final report, an important chapter in the history of public education in North Carolina came to a close.
The ABCs of Public Education was developed by the SBE in response to legislation enacted by the General Assembly in June 1996. For 16 years, the program focused on strong Accountability, teaching the Basics with an emphasis on high educational standards, and giving districts maximum local Control. At the time, this accountability model was groundbreaking and North Carolina was a pioneer in the movement to holding schools responsible for high student growth and performance standards.
Much has changed in the past 16 years. Our statewide Standard Course of Study and the corresponding assessment program are now focused on preparing graduates for college and a career in the global economy. This important shift in what and how we are teaching and how we are measuring student success will be reflected in North Carolina’s new READY accountability model, which will be implemented in this state starting in the fall.
The State Board of Education and staff at the Department of Public Instruction consulted with teachers, school leaders and education experts from across the country as we worked to develop this new model. The READY model maintains a focus on academic achievement and growth, but also incorporates new indicators that help to gauge a student’s level of preparedness for higher education and the workplace.
For elementary and middle schools, the READY model will focus on the percentage of students that score at the proficient level on end-of-grade assessments in math, English language arts and science (just in the 5th and 8th grade.) In high school, the READY accountability report will include the percentage of students proficient on end-of-course tests in Algebra 1/Integrated Math 1, Biology and English II. The model also will include:
- ACT College Readiness Benchmarks – the percentage of students who score well enough to have a 75 percent chance of getting a C or better in their first credit-bearing college course;
- Future-Ready Core Completion – the percentage of graduates who pass higher-level math classes;
- WorkKeys – the percentage of graduates achieving the Silver level on the three WorkKeys assessments; and
- An optional check-off for schools that require a Graduation Project for students.
The final READY reports will list actual school performance in each measure so no school will be able to mask poor performance in one area with stronger performance in another area. Also, beginning in the fall of 2013, each public school and public charter school in North Carolina will receive a letter grade - A, B, C, D or F – as a result of legislation passed by the NC General Assembly in 2012. The 2013 School Report Cards will reflect all of the changes in accountability measures.
The 2012-13 school year will bring many changes for students, teachers, principals and district leaders. With this new READY school accountability model in place, North Carolinians will receive a clear picture on how successful our public schools will be in navigating these changes and preparing graduates for college and a career.