MDE releases scorecards, top rankings for schools

RCS, Avondale officials reflect on school accountability results

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 15, 2017

ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The Michigan Department of Education recently released school accountability data for 2015-16, which includes a scorecard and a top-to-bottom ranking of nearly all Michigan schools.

The scorecards use a color-coded system — green, lime, yellow, orange and red — based on how well each district and its schools met performance goals set by the MDE. Under the system, green is the best — meaning a school or district attained at least 85 percent of the points possible — and red is the worst, with a school or district earning less than 50 percent of the points possible.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston said the scorecards are a good diagnostic tool for local schools to drive improvement and instruction.

“Schools will be able to look at their data and see which groups of students need more attention and individualized instruction. A major part of accountability is transparency and the communication of information to schools, parents and their communities,” he said in a statement.

The MDE’s top-to-bottom rankings, which include nearly every school in the state, judge school performance based on high school graduation rates, achievement gaps among student groups, and academic scores in math, reading, science, social studies and writing. Top-to-bottom scores are based on a percentile rank — meaning that a school outperformed that percentage of ranked schools in the state — which can range from a perfect score of 99 to a low of 0.

This is the last school year that the MDE will use a color-coded scorecard and the top-to-bottom list. The MDE is in the process of developing a new accountability system in compliance with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Rochester Community Schools
Locally, the Rochester Community Schools district received a yellow designation overall for earning between 60 and 70 percent of possible points for the 2015-16 school year.

“We are really proud of the systemic growth that we have seen across the district. It’s the hard work of the community, the hard work of teachers and the support staff in rallying around our strategic plan — which calls for a world-class education system for all kids,” said RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner.

Michael Behrmann, the district’s executive director of elementary education, said the district prides itself on the “extremely high expectations” of the community, staff and students.

“When you set a high bar, students are up to that challenge,” he said.

Behrmann said the state looks at the proficiency targets for each demographic group when scoring schools and districts.

“If you don’t meet one of the proficiency targets, you are automatically not a green school, so it is nearly impossible to meet that criteria,” he explained. “All of our schools are either lime or yellow, which is a pretty high standard, as districts go.”

The district’s highest-percentile scorers on the top-to-bottom list were at the elementary level — including Long Meadow and North Hill elementary schools, which each earned a perfect score of 99. Not far behind were Brewster and Musson elementary schools, each with a 98, followed by Brooklands, Delta Kelly and University Hills elementary schools, each with a 97. Baldwin Elementary School earned a 96, Hampton and Hugger elementary schools each scored 95, Hamlin and Meadow Brook elementary schools each earned a 93, and McGregor Elementary School received a 67.

At the middle school level, Hart and Van Hoosen middle schools each scored a 92nd percentile rank, while West Middle School earned an 88.

Among the district’s high schools, Rochester Adams High School scored 90, while Rochester and Stoney Creek high schools each scored 66.

In addition, the MDE named 10 RCS elementary schools — Baldwin, Brewster, Delta Kelly, Hampton, Hugger, Long Meadow, Meadow Brook, Musson, North Hill and University Hills — Reward schools, which means they were either in the top 5 percent of judged schools in the top-to-bottom list or in the top 5 percent of schools making the greatest gains in achievement, or they outperformed their predicted ranking when compared to similar schools.

“We’re very pleased that 10 of our schools received Reward school status — that’s out of 216 in the state, I believe. … We have the most Reward schools of any district in the state, so we are very proud of that,” Behrmann said.

Avondale Schools
The Avondale School District received a yellow scorecard designation overall for earning between 60 and 70 percent of the points possible for the 2015-16 school year.

The Avondale School District’s top-to-bottom percentile rankings included Deerfield Elementary School’s 90, Woodland Elementary School at 81, Auburn Elementary School with a 69, Avondale Middle School’s 67, Avondale High School’s 48, and R. Grant Graham Elementary School at 32. 

No schools in the Avondale School District were designated as Reward schools this year.

A representative from the Avondale School District could not be reached for comment by press time.

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