Pioneer superintendent Dave Bess had the same issue with the growth model.
“It’s relative to how everybody fared,” Bess said, much like grading a class on a bell curve. “I remember that from my undergrad days, and sometimes I fared pretty well and sometimes I didn’t.”
Pioneer Junior-Senior High School got a C and Pioneer Elementary got a B.
Fulton County’s Caston School Corporation fared worse this year. Both the junior-senior high and the elementary schools received D grades, to superintendent Dan Foster’s consternation.
“Well, naturally we are not pleased with our ‘grade,’” Foster said. “The whole process of these grades this year has just been one issue after another.”
In a three-page letter Foster wrote to parents, he pointed out that Caston Elementary had an A under last year’s metric and the junior-senior high school had gotten a C.
“Meetings have taken place, data discussed, and changes implemented for this school year that we believe will make a positive difference,” Foster wrote. However, he added, “we truly have no idea what all went in to the grades we are assigned.”
He, too, criticized the norm-referenced model for the student growth part of the metric.
In Carroll County, schools earned no grades lower than a B, like 61 percent of schools statewide.
Carroll Junior-Senior High School earned a B and Carroll Elementary got an A.
“Our performance is comparable to what it has been over the last few years,” said Carroll superintendent Chris Lagoni. “The biggest difference is now the school accountability matrix is focused on student growth, not just achievement.”
“As a core concept, measuring growth of a student or students is fairer than just comparing performance,” he said, but plenty of educators and parents alike have become confused over how that growth is measured. “If educators and parents understood what criteria helped establish the cutoffs, it might help with the confusion.”