Attached you will find a new tool for Iowa schools. The tool is called the “Attendance Center Ranking” (ACR) system. A website displaying the tool will allow you to track the progress of Norwalk schools and our students. This website is found in the attached letter and is scheduled to “go live” on Friday, January 30. The site will present data from the district as a whole and for each attendance center. There are two data sets on each page. One will be student proficiency scores and the second will be “college and work readiness” indicators based on ACT benchmarks. You can also break out our “subpopulations” based on socioeconomic need, IEP students and other categories. I encourage you to look it over and become familiar. It is a huge data site!
A second attachment will be Norwalk’s 10-year district proficiency trends. Over the last decade, Norwalk moved from 70 and 80 percent student proficiencies to 80 and 90 percent in all core areas. Although we compare well with other schools of reputation in Iowa, you will see areas that need more attention. We will continue to focus on these areas. If you have questions regarding this tool, please email me at email@example.com
I’m writing to make you aware of a new state website that provides Iowans a snapshot of how our public schools and school districts are performing in two areas: student proficiency rates and growth toward college and career readiness.
This website will enable users to look up this information for any public school or district, including ours. You may find the new website, http://reports.educateiowa.gov/acr, a good source of information.
The website was developed by the Iowa Department of Education as a first step in meeting a requirement of the 2013 education reform law. This law requires the Department to evaluate and rank schools based on their performance on nine specific measures and to post this information on its website.
This evaluation system is under development, and we expect to see a more complete system this fall. According to the Iowa Department of Education, the system will be rolled out in phases this year and next year. It’s important to note that the new website available now does not represent the complete evaluation system. Instead, it represents the performance of each public school and district on two of the nine measures required by the law:
- Student proficiency rates: The percentage of students proficient in math and reading in grades 3-8 and 11 based on state assessment results. Iowa’s definition of “proficient” means performing at a basic level. Proficiency does not necessarily put students on the path to college and career readiness.
- Growth toward college and career readiness: The percentage of students who met a growth target needed to be college and career ready. The Department has worked with our state assessment developer to link the Iowa Assessments to the college and career readiness benchmarks defined by ACT. The growth measure sets an expectation that all students will make progress each year and will be ready for college by the end of 12th grade.
The other seven performance measures are: Attendance rates, parent involvement, employee turnover, community activities and involvement, graduation rate, college readiness, and closing achievement gaps.
We believe this information can complement conversations in our community about our work to provide students a great education. However, student performance data only tell part of the story about how our schools are doing. To get the full story, I encourage you to stay connected with our schools as much as possible. Thanks for all you do for our kids.