State measurements of student success debated
Achievement compacts do not accurately gauge student achievement, teacher tells school board
The achievement compacts that measure students academic progress have been criticized since they were made law in 2012 but one teacher pushed educators and community members concerns to the forefront at a recent Lake Oswego School Board meeting.
School districts and other institutions of public education have achievement compacts with the state (technically with the Oregon Education Investment Board), which define measurements of success and targets for achievement. A yearly achievement compact report includes categories such as graduation rates, post-secondary school enrollment and third-grade reading proficiency and eighth-grade math proficiency on state tests.
Laura Paxson Kluthe, Lake Oswego Education Association president, sat before the board at an April 21 meeting to testify.
You should be aware that there is growing dissatisfaction amongst educators and the public regarding the OEIB from its purpose to its mandates to the policies it imposes on the school district, she said.
Paxson Kluthe said the type of data thats collected for the achievement compacts and the idea of measuring growth by such data dont make sense.
To many members of the teaching community, this data collection represents a reductionist view of education and has little to with the pursuance of instructional excellence, Paxson Kluthe said. One of the more overused buzz phrases of late is college- or career-ready. Based on what? Third-grade reading proficiency? Eighth-grade math? Based on some standardized test we taped to a data wall?
The Lake Oswego School Districts achievement compact went before the board last month in keeping with state reporting law. But, the results of state tests will not be collected until the summer and fall months, so the achievement compact with the updated numbers must be submitted by Oct. 15, said LOSD Director of Secondary Education Donna Atherton during her presentation on the achievement compact at the April school board meeting.
I regret that members of our central office administration have to spend valuable time compiling this data, Paxson Kluthe said.
Lake Oswego School Board Chairwoman Patti Zebrowski said on April 21 that she would share concerns about the achievement compact with state Sen. Richard Devlin during a meeting she had scheduled with him. Earlier this week, Zebrowski said she spoke with Devlin about unfunded mandates such as the achievement compact. Unfunded mandates are government requirements that are not supported with government dollars.
There are a lot of mandates being put on the schools, and it takes teacher time and resources, Zebrowski said.
The achievement compacts are a required component of Oregon's application for a No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver, and they replace the NCLB targets with goals set by each individual institution and approved by OEIB, according to the Oregon School Boards Association. There are no repercussions for failing to meet achievement compact standards, but there is an effort underway to increase accountability, and there soon could be repercussions, said Kristin Gimbel, communications director in the Office of the Chief Education Officer, OEIB.
Some changes that could be in the works for achievement compacts include setting three- to five-year goals instead of one-year goals.
"This change will incent and support the kind of budget, culture and practice changes (needed) to affect
student outcomes over the long term," Gimbel said.
By Jillian Daley
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