Pike Road Schools discusses different method for its state report card grade

Updated: Jan. 4, 2019 at 4:16 PM CST
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Pike Road Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter said he was pleased with the district’s score on this year’s report card from the AL Dept. of Education.

PIKE ROAD, AL (WSFA) - Pike Road Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter said he was pleased with the district’s score on this year’s report card from the Alabama Department of Education. The state’s report card scored PRS at 83 percent, which is an improvement from last school year’s 78 percent.

“We’re happy,” Ledbetter said. “We’re glad to be able to show progress and the work that’s going on. We have phenomenal educators here. To see what’s happening with the students here is really exciting.”

However, Ledbetter said the growing school system is graded differently than other system across the state because it’s only high school currently only serves students through the 11th grade. In fact, Pike Road’s high school was left off of the state report card’s individual school scoring because it’s for the 2017-2018 school year and this is the first school year PRS has had its own high school facility.

“We don’t have a graduating class yet,” Ledbetter said.

Two of the six data categories that went into calculating the score are graduation rate and college and career readiness.

“Pike Road does not have a graduation rate; therefore, their report card formula is different than other school systems," Michael Sibley, communications director for the Alabama Department of Education, said.

The department has not posted the in-depth scoring card for each system and school for 2017-2018 yet. However, 2016-2017 reports show that the scores for entire systems broke down like this:

-Academic Achievement: 20%

-Academic Growth: 30%

-Graduation Rate: 30%

-College and Career Readiness: 10%

-Chronic Absenteeism: 10%

“If a school/system with a Grade 12 does not have a graduating class, or has insufficient N-count data*, the percent for Graduation Rate will be added to Academic Achievement, being that Graduation Rate is an Academic Indicator. The same is true of college and Career Readiness indicators,” Sibley stated.

Last year, Pike Road Schools' scoring was broken down this way:

-Academic Achievement: 40%

-Academic Growth: 50%

-Chronic Absenteeism: 10%

This year’s scoring was done similarly, with a few changes,

For more systems the scoring was done this way:

-Academic Achievement: 20%

-Academic Growth: 25%

-Graduation Rate: 30%

-College and Career Readiness: 10%

-Chronic Absenteeism: 10%

-Proficiency in English Language Proficiency: 5%

For systems without a graduation rate or college and career readiness, like PRS, the state’s data indicates scores are calculated this way:

-Academic Achievement: 50%

-Academic Growth: 25%

-Chronic Absenteeism: 20%

-Proficiency in English Language Proficiency: 5%

A document provided by Michael Sibley about the percentage break down for the 2017-2018 state...
A document provided by Michael Sibley about the percentage break down for the 2017-2018 state report card.

Ledbetter said the formula redistributes the value of the categories in a way that lowers the district’s score. He said academic achievement is typically a district’s lowest scoring category. He said PRS' academic achievement score is well above the state average. Last year, PRS scored a 67.05 in academic achievement, while the state’s score was 60.27. However, he said PRS used student ACT scores, AP Exam passage rates and professional certification programs to project what its graduation rate will be.

He said the high school has only lost on student, putting the anticipated graduation rate above 99%. He said the district scaled down and anticipates a graduation rate of about 98 percent and a strong college and career readiness score because of the system’s focus on real-world, hands-on learning and apprenticeships.

“Based on what we’re projecting, if we’d been scored like everyone else, we would have received a 91 percent for the district,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter said he met with state education officials, including State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, to see if the score could be appealed.

“They were very gracious to hear me,” Ledbetter said. “I think they understood my point. At the same time, it’s not as simple as them making a decision. They have to get permission from the Department of Education in Washington, because they agreement they have is with them. It’s not something they can just go and change.”

Sibley confirmed the scoring was done based on the federally approved plan from the U.S. Department of Education under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Ledbetter said his only regret about the score is that he wants parents to have an accurate picture of the district’s progress.

“We’re excited to see the way that we’ve improved as a school system,” Ledbetter said. “We want people to know exactly how much we’ve improved and that not all of it shows up on the report card because of how our report card is measured differently than everyone else’s.”

Pike Road Schools will have its first graduating class next school year, so its state report card will include the standard scoring methods the following year.

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