Questions & Answers
Alabama Act 2012-402 and the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 require the state to produce such a report.
Q. How are the letter grades determined?
For schools with a grade 12, letter grades are determined using a formula that includes multiple indicators based on state test scores, student absenteeism, graduation rates, and college- and career readiness rates. For schools without a grade 12, the formula is adjusted to account for the lack of graduation and college- and career-readiness rates.
For a detailed look at the formulas, please read Interim Superintendent Richardson’s Dec. 14 memo that can be found here: www.alsde.edu/sites/memos/Memoranda/FY18-1006.pdf
Q. Why does my report card from February 2018 say “prototype”?
The February 2018 Report Card is a first-draft and has not yet been approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).
Q. What does my score mean?
There are many factors that influence the quality of a school. It is important that we look at the entire report card to find opportunities for improvement. By looking at these measures over time, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses in order to develop plans for improvement.
Q. Does a low grade mean my school is bad?
There are many factors that influence the quality of a school. The letter grade is a snapshot of how a school or school system performed during the previous year. The grades are to be used to identify areas that are performing strongly or areas that are in need of improvement.
Q. Why do the report cards list different groups of students by race and income level?
Federal law requires that we report academic progress of all “subgroups” of students, which includes breaking down the data by race and income levels. This report card features a way to determine how every group of students in any school performed on every indicator. This is critical information for schools, teachers, parents and students that helps ensure every student’s educational needs can be met.
Q. How can we use the report card to improve our school?
The Alabama State Report Card can be used to highlight strengths and to identify those areas in which improvement is needed. This is essential to developing a plan for improvement. We are all in this together. Let’s have a conversation. Schools, parents and our larger communities all have a role to play in educating children.
Q. As a (parent/teacher/community member), what can I do to help improve our schools?
Parents and community members can volunteer, attend local school board meetings, and engage in meaningful dialogue with school leaders about what is happening in their schools. We are all in this together. Let’s have a conversation. Schools, parents and our larger communities all have a role to play in educating children. The most important thing is that you get involved.
Q. I hear some say this is not a good measure of school performance. Why should I believe this grade?
The Alabama State Report Card is one tool to highlight what we are doing well and where we need to improve. It is not meant to be the only measure of a school’s performance. It was developed to encourage honest conversations about what we need to do to help all students succeed. It is important that we look at the entire report card to find opportunities for improvement. By looking at these measures over time, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a plan for improvement.
Q. How does the Alabama State Report Card affect the failing schools lists and available school choice options?
The Alabama State Report Card is not the tool used to determine if your school is listed
Q. Why is there a discrepancy between Graduation Rate and College and Career Ready Rates?
The high school graduation rate is determined by the number of students who start high school, complete their coursework and graduate with their cohort. The College and Career Ready rate is determined based on the percentage of students that met at least one of the six indicators that determine if he/she prepared for either a two-/four-year college or university (without remediation) or prepared for the workforce with an industry credential. The ultimate goal is to make sure every student who leaves an Alabama high school is prepared for life afterwards. The goal is to continually reduce the gap between the two until it is eliminated.
Q. Why is there a discrepancy between Graduation Rate and Proficiency Rate?
Proficiency measures a student’s mastery of reading and mathematics. The graduation rate simply measures the number of students who have met the state’s minimum requirements for graduation.
Q. We no longer use the ACT Aspire, how can we use the ACT Aspire to determine what letter grade a school receives?
While the ACT Aspire test is no longer used, it provided four years of consistent data to measure both student proficiency and growth. New statewide, standardized tests will be different, but will comparatively measure proficiency with the state’s college- and career-ready standards, and they will provide a new baseline for future growth.
Q. How will the report cards be impacted by the switch from ACT Aspire to Scantron to whatever happens next?
No one knows the true impact. Right now a group of Alabama stakeholders are working to develop the best assessment for Alabama. It is important to get the assessment correct, so there is no more switch between assessments.
Accountability Indicators: These are the measures of progress used on the Alabama State Report Card to determine a significant portion of the letter grade assigned. These indicators are: Academic Achievement, Academic Growth, Graduation Rate, College and Career Readiness, and Chronic Absenteeism.
ACT Aspire: ACT Aspire is the state assessment that Alabama has used to measure the educational standing of students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 from 2012 until 2017. The first PROTOTYPE Alabama State Report card uses data from the last administration of the ACT Aspire to determine academic growth and achievement.
Alabama State Report Card: The Legislative School Performance Recognition Program Act, commonly called the Alabama State Report Card, is state law requiring the state as a whole, as well as school systems and individual school, be graded with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F, according to a collection of indicators including academic growth, graduation rates, chronic absenteeism, college and career readiness, and various other measures.
AAA Failing School List: Through the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) of 2015, the Alabama Legislature has mandated a list be developed of the lowest performing six percent of schools on the state’s annual standardized assessment in reading and math. School choice options (transfer/tax credit) are triggered by inclusion on this list.
College and Career Readiness: A student who is college and/or career ready is one who can enroll into a two or four year college/university without the need for remediation in freshman level coursework, or into the workforce with some form of credentialing. In Alabama, the college and career ready indicators are as follows: 1.) A benchmark score on any of four ACT tests 2.) A passing score (3, 4 or 5) on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam 3.) A passing score (4, 5, 6, or 7) on an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam 4.) Silver, Gold or Platinum level on ACT WorkKeys 5.) Earning transcripted College Credit while still in high school 6.) Passing an industry credentialing test 7.) Acceptance for enlistment into the military.
Chronic Absenteeism: A measure of how many students miss a defined number of school days during the school year. Alabama considers missing 15 or more days of school (excused or unexcused) chronic absenteeism.
NAEP Data: The National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, is one of the longest running standardized tests in America. Every two years, a randomly selected sample of 4th grade and 8th grade students nationwide take the NAEP test in reading and math. No individual student, school, or system score/data is determined by NAEP, however all states are ranked according to their academic performance.
Participation: The measure of the active portion of a student body who sat for and took a particular exam/assessment. Current federal law calls for a 95% participation rate on mandated assessments.
PROTOTYPE: A first, typical, or preliminary model of something. The Alabama State Report Card will have PROTOTYPE watermarked on the front because it is a preliminary model and it has not yet been given full approval by the U.S. Department of Education.
REPORT CARD: A holistic collection of education data that includes Alabama’s performance on state and federal testing requirements, education funding, graduation rates, student enrollment, professional qualifications, and other accountability data.
Standardized Assessment: The test(s) that students take annually (with the same questions, or a selection of questions from common bank of questions) intended to determine their academic strengths and weaknesses and provide data that helps teachers inform instruction.