State Board To Vote On Formulas For Grading Public Schools

Sep 4, 2017

North Carolina's Department of Public Instruction must submit a plan for grading the state's public schools to the federal Department of Education by Sept. 18.
Credit Brian Batista / For WUNC

The State Board of Education will take a final vote on Thursday on its plan for evaluating North Carolina public schools, a requirement of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The document must include grading formulas that tell parents and the federal government how well each school is educating its students.

Compliance with the new national education law is necessary for North Carolina to receive federal school funding, which makes up 11 percent of the state’s education budget. The Every Student Succeeds Act was passed in 2015 with largely bipartisan support, and replaces the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act.

The new law no longer ties teacher evaluations to student test scores, and shifts much of the responsibility of holding schools accountable to state education agencies. It also requires states to add a measure of "school quality" that is intended to look beyond test scores.

Several states have chosen to monitor chronic absenteeism or attendance rates. North Carolina's Department of Instruction plans to measure improvement in student scores, as it has in the past. But it may add a non-academic indicator like school climate to future state evaluations.

Another new requirement of the federal law is that state education agencies separately factor in the scores of English Language Learners. North Carolina has one of the largest immigrant student populations in the country.

The state's school accountability plan is due to the federal education department by Sept. 18. Once approved, the Department of Public Instruction must immediately start putting it into place.