- Lime green
My guess is that you know exactly which color is better than the other.
Here are scores from two middle schools in Michigan. One is orange (bad) and one is yellow (caution). Guess which school is which.
|Students with Disabilities||55%|
|Students with Disabilities||39%|
Can you guess which is which? Which school has a lower rating than the other?
That's right! The school with 85% proficient overall and which had 50% of its bottom 30% proficient was orange.
To make the point clear, the school with the higher test scores overall and higher scores within subgroups - some significantly - was rated as less effective than the school with the lower test scores.
Now the state would argue that the new "color coded" system is not designed to compare schools. The state would argue that it is based on goals met and goals not met.
But each school has different goals based on subgroups. If you have few subgroups you have few scores. Each school has different goals.
There is a nuance to the system that clearly will be lost in translation.
The colors evidently have very little to do with actual performance.
The state system expects you to stand on land that you cannot stand on. Each parent is now, as we speak, looking at the color of theirs school and comparing it to the color of other schools. Parents will assume incorrectly that schools with orange are worse that schools with yellow and that schools within yellow are all the same.
Here is another example. Two yellow schools. According to Vanessa Kessler, a deputy superintendent at the Michigan Department of Education, yellow doesn’t mean a school is average. Yellow, she said, “is caution.”
|Students with Disabilities||43%|
|Students with Disabilities||34%|
One school has 81% of its students proficient; the other has 66% of its students proficient. One has 37% of the bottom 30% of its student proficient and the other school has 9% of its bottom 30% proficient. Yet both schools are rated the same. Both schools are yellow.
It is not true. These schools are different. One school I would suggest has higher achievement and is more successful than the other. Yet the state rates them both the same.
Now some may argue that I am biased. Some may argue that I disagree because the schools in my district are rated poorly.
The schools in my district can improve. The schools in my district can get better.
To have a system that so fundamentally miscommunicates to the public, to parents, to school staff suggests that the system is broken.
The system is fatally flawed.