Fulton School System receives B’s and C’s across board in statewide evaluation

Area schools rate higher in first-ever College and Career Ready Performance Index

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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – Schools in Fulton County scored just slightly above the state average on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), which rates schools and schools districts on a 100-point scale assessing the overall performance of the schools.

The CCRPI replaces the “adequate yearly performance” (AYP) accountability system under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, which by most accounts was doing little to raise the bar on academic performance across the country since its inception in 2001.

Last year, Georgia became one of only 10 states in the nation to receive a waiver from NCLB mandates that aimed for all students to be proficient in math and reading by 2015. In exchange, Georgia education officials developed the CCRPI, which delves more deeply into how the school is meeting the academic and career needs of its students.

NCLB assessed schools on their performance on an annual state assessment (CRCTs and End of Course Tests in Georgia), but little else. The end result was an increasing number of schools ending up in the “needs improvement” category, and some high-performing schools deemed “failing” as a result of the performance of just a handful of students.

“We are no longer bound by the narrow definitions of success found in the adequate yearly progress measurement,” said State School Superintendent John Barge. “Holding schools accountable for the work they do in all subjects and with all students is critical in preparing our students to be college and career ready.”

Statewide, the average CCRPI score, based on data from the 2011-2012 school year, is 83.4 for elementary schools, 81.4 for middle schools and 72.6 for high schools. In Fulton, the numbers essentially mirror the state average with elementary schools receiving an average of 85.7, middle schools at 83.1 and high schools earning a low “C” with an average of 73.9. Schools in North Fulton scored significantly higher as an average, when compared to the state averages.

This year, the Fulton County School System adopted a five-year strategic plan that essentially mirrors the state’s goals on the CCRPI by working toward a 90 percent graduation rate, ensuring 100 percent of graduates are college and career ready and that 85 percent of seniors are academically eligible to be accepted into a Georgia college or university.

Under the CCRPI, schools are judged on a 100-point scale, and the overall score looks at three major areas of achievement (70 points possible), progress (15 points possible) and achievement gap (15 points possible).

“The index includes scores that easily communicate to the public how a school is doing,” explained Barge. “Each school receives a score out of 100 points, just like what students receive in their classes.”

Schools can receive additional points if they have a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, English learner students and students with special needs. Schools can also receive points for making extra efforts in encouraging students to participate in college and career readiness programs.

Next year, schools will also receive ratings based on their financial efficiency and school climate, but these ratings will be for the public’s information only and will not factor into the school’s overall CCRPI score, said Barge.

Currently, low performing schools face no penalties, other than parent and community scrutiny; however a penalty system may be implemented in the coming years.