How to understand School Performance Scores and grades

How to understand School Performance Scores and Grades:

In 2013, the Louisiana Department of Education recalibrated its school performance score scale – moving from a 200-point scale to a 150-point scale.

Scores released on Oct. 24, 2013 feature letter grades under the old system and the new system, so that schools can compare their results both ways.

Some schools will earn a “T” rather than a traditional letter grade. These schools are led by operators who took over existing failing schools and agreed to maintain all previous grade levels and former students. The letter grade lets people know the school is in transition.

And some schools won’t have letter grades at all. These are schools that are too new to have letter grades, or schools that don’t yet have third grade, the first year testing begins.

2012-2013 SPS scale (150-point)

Letter Grade School Performance Score
A 100-150
B 85-99.9
C 70-84.9
D 50-69.9
F 0-49.9
T Turnaround school

2011-2012 SPS scale (200-point)

Letter Grade School Performance Score
A 120-200
B 105-119.9
C 90-104.9
D 75-89.9
F 0-74.9
T Turnaround school

In state’s elementary and middle schools, School Performance Scores are almost entirely based on students’ performance on state standardized tests – a change from last year’s elementary school scores, a small part of which were based on student attendance. A small part of this year’s middle school scores are based on how well their kids do in high school, or the number of credits each matriculated student accumulates by the end of their 9th grade year. In high schools, scores are equally weighted over four factors: student achievement on the ACT test and the state’s End of Course tests, the number of students who graduate or who graduate with honors, and the number of students who graduate over a four-year period.

Here’s a breakdown of how scores are calculated, by grade level:

K-6 schools Student test scores (100%)
K-8, 7-8 schools Student test scores (95%), number of students who get enough credits to prepare them for high school by the end of their 9th grade year (5%)
High schools (9-12) Student test scores: ACT (25%) and EOC tests (25%), graduation: graduation index (25%), and graduation cohort (25%)

More new features:
“Bonus” score system for struggling schools: Elementary and middle schools with low-performing students can earn up to 10 bonus points, if they can show that those students exceeded growth expectations on standardized tests. High schools with low-performing students who make this sort of progress on the ACT can also earn up to 10 bonus points.