State releases latest ratings of all Southern Utah schools through redesigned accountability reports

Stock image | Photo by robynmac/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — If you can’t decide where to send your child to school or want to know how your child’s current school is performing, you can view Utah’s redesigned school accountability reports.

The Utah State Board of Education released new, redesigned 2018 school accountability report cards this week. The interactive tool was developed over the past 18 months with educators, parents and community members. It includes several new features, including ratings for each indicator and the ability for schools to highlight self-selected performance information.

In 2017, the Utah Legislature revised the school accountability system to include additional measures to assess school performance, including success in readiness coursework, progress on English language proficiency and academic growth of a school’s lowest-performing students. The Legislature defined what constituted scores for A-F letter grading scales for schools, but allowed the board of education to suspend assigning school grades for the 2017-18 school year.

According to the Utah Accountability Technical Manual, the accountability system is meant to incentivize schools to engage in processes that will support student performance, emphasize student growth and improve opportunities for supportive learning environments.

“It is my hope that parents will take the opportunity this year to look more deeply into their child’s school performance,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson said. “The comprehensive data that will now be publicly available offers a clearer picture of school progress and achievement in core subjects and advanced coursework.”

A screenshot of data for the Washington County School District on the online 2018 school accountability report card | Screenshot from Utah State Board of Education report card website, St. George News | Click to enlarge

When reviewing the data for each school in Washington or Iron County School District, you’re able to see how each school’s rankings compares to the district and state levels.

For the first time, the report card provides schools with ratings on each indicator used to assess school performance. Ratings are reported on a five-point scale using the following descriptors (from highest to lowest): exemplary, commendable, typical, developing, critical needs.

Those indicator ratings capture different aspects of school performance and include academic proficiency and growth in core subjects, progress on English language proficiency, graduation rate, performance on the ACT college entrance exam and success in readiness coursework, which includes such items as Advanced Placement and concurrent enrollment participation as well as students who complete career and technical education Career Pathways.

Other new pieces include the testing participation rate for each school and the percentage of students consistently attending the school. The latter statistic counts only students who remain in a single school for at least 160 of the 180-day school year and are in school attendance at least 90 percent of the time.

Student scores – including demographic disaggregation – on some of the same proficiency tests used to measure school accountability were released in September. Individual student scores are not released to the general public but have been available to teachers since that time.

This year’s school accountability reports are available here.

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