ATLANTA – The recent “report card” from the Georgia Department of Education indicates Fulton County schools are making progress in academic achievement, but still making a C-plus when it comes to students’ readiness for college.
The average score for the Fulton County School System was 77.5, compared to 75.8 for all Georgia public schools. While the average score for Fulton elementary schools fell below the state average, Fulton’s middle and high schools scored higher than their state peers.
Northview High School, which earned a 93.9, had the highest score in the state when compared to non-magnet high schools. Chattahoochee and Johns Creek high schools followed close behind with scores of 93.8 and 92.4, respectively. Milton High also broke the 90 point barrier with a 90.7.
Of the 100 schools in the Fulton County School System, 67 made gains from last year, raising the overall score by 1.7 points.
This is the second year Georgia public schools are evaluated based on the 100-point College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCPRI), the alphabet soup acronym that replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate.
In 2012, Georgia was one of only 10 states in the nation that earned a waiver from the much maligned NCLB standards, which aimed to have all students proficient in reading and math by 2015. The NCLB law was passed in 2001, and after a decade of implementation made little impact on student achievement – other than to show most schools failed to hit goals.
With the CCRPI, the goal was to take into consideration other factors that make a school successful, not just one annual test as was the case with NCLB. Schools now are judged on a weighted scale that includes not only academic achievement and year-to-year progress, but also the graduation rate and efforts to close the achievement gap.
Schools receive additional points if they have a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, English learner students and students with special needs. Schools also receive points for making extra efforts in encouraging students to participate in college and career readiness programs.
“The CCRPI uses a variety of metrics that are more meaningful in measuring school performance,” said Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa. “It’s also aligned with our strategic goals of improving graduation rates and preparing students for college or the workforce.”
This year, the performance bar was raised, placing more emphasis on year-to-year progress. Student achievement now counts for 60 points – down from 70 points last year. Progress now accounts for 25 points – up from 15 points last year. The new weighting, say school officials, better evaluates a school’s efforts to improve each year.
Another change this year is giving schools more credit for graduating students in four years, instead of five. Last year, four- and five-year graduation rates received the same weight.
Currently, there are no punitive measures for schools with low scores, according to a spokesman from the state.