Your chance to weigh in on school grades: Map it!

In October, EdNC released our latest map on school grades across North Carolina, developed by Emily Antosyk of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.

Antosyk reminds us:

NC DPI reports school performance grades annually. Reporting of A-F letter grades began in 2013-14.

Academic achievement, including measures of student progress like test scores (ex. End-of-Grade, End-of-Course, and ACT test results), graduation rates, and measures of work readiness, makes up 80% of a school’s grade. School growth, measured by the extent to which students met or exceeded the state’s performance expectations for that school for that year, makes up the other 20%.

NC DPI reports grades on a 15-point scale. Original legislation was written with the intent to establish a 10-point grading scale, but this year, lawmakers made the 15-point grading scale permanent with Session Law 2019-154 (Section I).

The way that NC DPI calculates grades changed again in 2018-19. Changes encompassed adding, removing, and combining variables, and adjusting guidelines for student-level analyses.

NC DPI added new variables to their data release this year, including the number of days schools missed due to Hurricane Florence (for some it was upwards of 20 and NC DPI made adjustments to school grades to account for the loss of educational days), and the percentage of Economically Disadvantaged Students (EDS).

The power of this map is that it gives you control. You get to choose the percentages based on your values to see how the grades change — statewide and for particular schools. You get to choose whether you want to use a 10-point or 15-point grading scale.

Here is a link to Antosyk’s map and lots of information about how to use the map. Take a look, and create a map that reflects your values. Then take a screenshot of the map and share it with us on Twitter @EducationNC.

This is the map with 80% achievement/20% growth and the 15-point scale.

This is the same map with the 10-point scale.

You could choose to have grades based on 100% achievement, 100% growth, flip it so that it is 20% achievement and 80% growth, or try out 50/50. The following maps use the 15-point scale.

This is the map with 100% achievement.

This is the map with 100% growth.

This is the map with 20% achievement and 80% growth.

This is the map with 50% achievement and 50% growth.

EdNC had this tool created to empower you — all of you — to take a deeper look at how these public policy choices — to have school grades and to use the existing 80/20 split and 15-point scale — impact your perception of our schools.

We hope that parents, school administrators, and policymakers will continue to use Antosyk’s map to have a conversation about whether or how our current system of measuring school achievement should be changed.

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Analisa Sorrells is the Chief of Staff and Associate Director of Policy for EducationNC.

Data