Source: Sherman Publications

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'Orange' for schools
New state report cards color based

August 28, 2013

Clarkston scored an overall "orange" in the state's new school accountability report, released last week.

The ranking is one shade above "red," the lowest level in the now color-based system.

"It is important to note that in looking at the student population as a whole in each school and across the entire Clarkston district, our students met proficiency and participation targets in every subject area," said Rosalie Lieblang, Clarkston Board of Education president. "It is when the data is broken down to reflect the proficiency of certain subgroups, that some proficiency targets are not met."

Subgroups can be as few as 30 students who share economic, ethnic, limited English proficient, disabilities, or other characteristics, Lieblang said. 

"If a single subgroup is not on track to reach 85 percent proficiency or did not test over 95 percent of the population, then that one single subset of students could prevent a school or district from receiving a color higher than yellow," she said.

Clarkston's color codes are lower due to certain subgroups not meeting proficiency in reading, writing, math,

science and social studies, she said.

"Yellow scorecards are extremely common across the state and in Oakland County," she said.

The color scorecard replaces the state's previous Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measure which was either "Meets AYP" or "Did Not Meet AYP," as well as a letter-grade system last year.  The new color scorecard represents school performance, with each subgroup earning a color, which together make up the district's overall color.

An overall "green" for a district indicates at least 85 percent of possible points and no reds across the board; "lime," 70-84 percent, no reds; "yellow," 60-69 percent, few reds; "orange," 50-59 percent, some reds; and "red," less than 50 percent, several reds, and/or Priority School identifications.

"At the time the document was produced, nearly all schools and districts in Oakland County received yellow, orange or red designations," Lieblang said. "Clarkston is committed to increasing achievement for all students. We are working hard to ensure that every student reaches their potential and has the necessary skills to be a successful and contributing member of society."

School board members discussed school accountability as part of a brainstorming discussion about school goals, Aug. 26.

Trustee Steve Hyer said the state report, with its change from letter scores last year to colors this year and dense statistical calculations, is confusing. Despite that, he said Clarkston's goal should be to score at the top of whatever measures are used.

"Our long term priority should be more than just better MEAP results, but better results across the board," Hyer said.

Board Vice President Susan Boatman proposed a goal of improving by at least a color shade a year.

The goal would first require analysis by administration to see what that would take, however, Boatman said.

"If our goal is to increase it, first we need to know what is achievable," she said.

The Top-to-Bottom list is part of the state school accountability system. It ranks schools based on mathematics, reading, writing, science, and social studies test scores, and high school graduation rate. The color-based school performance level is based on test scores, improvement, and achievement gaps between highest and lowest scoring 30 percent of students in each school. The measurements were developed in the 2010-2011 school year as part of Michigan's approved federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) flexibility waiver.

The school board's next regular meeting is Sept. 9.

Clarkston Community Schools'state ranking

Orange, 66/114 points

Top to Bottom rankings, by percentage:

88, Independence Elementary

88, Springfield Plains Elementary

84, Bailey Lake Elementary

80, Clarkston Elementary

80, Pine Knob Elementary

69, Clarkston High School

66, North Sashabaw Elementary

51, Andersonville Elementary, Focus School

46, Sashabaw Middle School, Focus School

Oxford - Red, 64/94 points

Lake Orion - Yellow, 78/112 points

Brandon - Red, 66/88 points