Tuesday, May 29, Rhode Island’s new accountability plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The new accountability plan was part of Rhode Island Department of Education’s (RIDE) application for a waiver from some of the requirements under No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Rhode Island was one of eight states that received the waiver from some of the one-size-fits-all mandates imposed under NCLB. States that receive the waiver have the opportunity to develop and implement a plan that is tailored to meet each state’s unique educational challenges.
In addition to designing a plan, states had to demonstrate to the U.S. Department of Education that the state had made significant progress on adopting and implementing the Common Core State Standards and putting in place a system that evaluates all educators annually.
The biggest change for Rhode Island, from the approval of this waiver, is a new school classification system. Parents should be watching for their child’s school’s classification in the coming weeks according to Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist.
This means that public schools will be ranked from the highest achieving to the schools most in need. “The most in need schools will be those that intervention will be required and extra support will be provided to those schools,” said Gist.
Currently NCLB requires that every student is proficient in reading and math by 2014, RI will no longer have to meet that requirement based upon the waiver and the new plan.
Over the next month, RIDE will use data from the statewide NECAP in math and reading, as well as the high-school graduation rates to develop the 2012 classifications.
Under the new system, RIDE will classify schools based on 6 key points:
- Proficiency – Number of students that have attained proficiency or better.
- Distinction – Number of students that have attained the level of distinction.
- Gap-closing – Is the school serving all students, including students with disabilities and English Language Learners?
- Progress – Is the school on schedule to attain their 2017 targets?
- Growth (K-8) – Are all students making progress?
- Improvement (High Schools) – Is the school improving annually?
- Graduation (High Schools) – Are all students ready for success?
Initially 26 states applied for a NCLB waiver in the second round, with only 8 receiving the waiver on Tuesday. Last year 11 states applied for and received their NCLB waiver.