Under ESEA Flexibility, states must renew their current waiver request in order continue the provisions of their accountability models. We submitted the ESEA Waiver Renewal Application to the USED on March 31, 2015. USED approved our application for a four-year renewal on July 23, 2015.
We engaged a diverse group of stakeholders across the state who provided feedback at numerous stages of system development. The final proposal reflects this feedback. Stakeholders included:
TOSS working group of superintendents; Local district assessment and accountability personnel; All Directors of Schools via direct solicitation and feedback to Commissioner; Planning & Monitoring Advisory Committee (Committee of Practitioners); Community partners including Urban League and SCORE; CORE regional directors and data analysts; TDOE senior leadership team and other divisions, including Special Populations; General public through the public comment period.
Feedback from USED was overwhelmingly positive and maintained all key provisions of application.
- USED acknowledged and approved affirmative shift to a focus on improvement and establishing multiple pathways for districts to demonstrate progress toward goals. Key updates that were approved include:
- Elimination of subgroup improvement test based on nine categories and focus on four key subgroups: Black, Hispanic, & Native American (BHN); economically disadvantaged (ED); English language learners (ELL); and students with disabilities (SWD).
- Adjustment to every test taker provision to consider students in accountability who are present for at least 60% of instructional year.
- Grade band AMO targets (versus individual grades).
- Inclusion of post-secondary metrics (ACT composite and subject-specific benchmarks)
- Updated criteria for priority and focus school exit, which includes opportunities for schools that demonstrate significant improvement to exit the status after one or two years.
- Proposed change to include accelerated middle school students in both middle and high school accountability metrics was rejected, as were proposals to extend timeline for including some English language learners (ELL) in ELA testing and excluding medically fragile students from graduation rate calculations.
- The TDOE will revisit ELL proposal based on further discussion with stakeholders and continued conversation with USED.
Some of the key similarities between the current and proposed systems:
- Achievement – We are still focused on growth in achievement for all students. Absolute achievement alone is not sufficient.
- Gap Closure – All means all. We expect faster growth for the lowest achieving students.
- Content focus on Reading, Math, and Graduation Rate – Including all HS EOCs (English I/II/III and Algebra I/II & Geometry OR Integrated Math I/II/III); 3-5/6-8 RLA and Math; and Graduation Rate.
Some of the key differences between the current and proposed systems:
- Recognition of Incremental Progress – Measures improvement based on a scale rather than binary met/miss targets. Provides LEAs detailed information in a performance “heat map” to highlight areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
- Inclusion of Postsecondary Readiness Metrics – Incorporates ACT composite results as a content area, in addition to using ACT subject test scores to demonstrate proficiency for students taking advanced coursework (e.g. AP, IB, or dual credit) in their junior year.
- Focus on Lowest Achieving Students – Acknowledges student progress from below basic to basic.
- Gap Closure Metric – Gap closure targets based on growth of the subgroup versus direct comparison to non-subgroup peers.
- Multiple Pathways to Success – Includes three pathways to demonstrate performance for both Achievement and Gap Closure components, instead of single target and potential “safe harbors.”
- District Designations – Eliminates In Need of Subgroup Improvement and Intermediate designations. Four proposed designations include In Need of Improvement, Progressing, Achieving, and Exemplary.