The College Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) is Georgia Department of Education’s official metric of public school quality. It is used to determine whether a school is “failing,” and is monitored by the DoE for accountability purposes. It is a composite index, which means that it is comprised of many different components. The upside to this is that it is comprehensive and balanced, putting value on a wide range of outcomes. The downside is that it is complicated and parts are opaque, making it easy to conceal serious deficiencies, and hard for both educators and stakeholders to understand a school or district’s specific strengths and weaknesses.
In this post, we will give you a brief overview of the CCRPI components, and then apply these categories to analyze the 2016 CCRPI score for the high schools in Douglas County.
CCRPI has three main components, plus a bonus component called “Challenge Points.” These are:
Achievement (50%) – How students perform in a single school year. Includes state standardized test scores, other test scores like SAT and AP exams, graduation rate, and participation in various academic programs and/or tracks.
Progress (40%) – How student performance changes relative to the previous year. This is measured by “academic cohort” meaning that students’ growth is compared to academically similar peers.
Achievement Gap (10%) – How the lowest 25% of students are doing relative to state averages.
Challenge Points can be earned in two ways. One has to do with the “performance” (how that is defined seems ambiguous) of students with disabilities (SWD), English learners (EL), and economically disadvantaged (ED) students. The other includes a variety of different outcomes related to academic rigor, such as the percentage of students taking Physics.
Achievement is further broken down into three categories:
- Content Mastery (40%) – Essentially the passing rate on state exams
- Post Readiness (30%) – A range of performance and participation indicators having to do with predictors of success post-graduation.
- Graduation Rate (30%)
Keep in mind that since Achievement is 50% overall, to contribution of each of these sub-categories to the total CCRPI is half of what is denoted above.
Application to Douglas County High Schools
The DoE has an easy to use searchable data base where you can see these components for any district for its high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. The 2016 CCRPI score for DC high schools is 78.9 – higher than the State high schools score of 75.7. Does this mean for certain that, on average, students at DC high schools are better prepared for college or career? That they are mastering more of the state curriculum? A deeper look at the numbers shows that these are not straightforward conclusions (as is often portrayed by the school system).
Achievement versus Progress
When comparing any two CCRPI scores to judge school or district quality, it is important first to look at how much of the difference is due to Achievement and how much is due to Progress. Table 1 compares the components of the District and the State. Notice that the Progress score is nearly two points higher for Douglas County. The method for calculating Progress is complex, using advanced statistical models. The upshot, though, is that it is much easier for a school/district to earn progress points by going from bad to average than from good to great. Herein lies the chief difficulty of interpreting CCRPI for your typical person: a district or school may have a higher Progress score because it has a history of low achievement, but made some modest gains, relative to the prior year. It is likely that Douglas County has a high Progress score due to modest gains in passing rates on state exams from 2015 to 2016.
It is important for accountability purposes to incentivize “growth.” But when it comes to the judgment of stakeholders, would you rather own property in a district that already has high achievement but is not improving much (and so struggles to earn a lot of progress points), or in a district that recently attained an average level achievement after being low in previous years?
Given the opaque nature of the calculation method, it is difficult to interpret exactly what having a greater progress score than the state means for a particular district.
Performance versus Participation
Not all of the “Achievement” indicators have to do with actual achievement. In the “Post Readiness” sub-category, 4 of the 7 indicators are measures of participation. Participation concerns completing advanced courses, finishing “academic pathways” (a prescribed sequence of courses), and not being absent from school. Table 2 shows the scores for 6 of these indicators for all five high schools and the District (excludes “Percent of students missing fewer than six days of school”). “Participation” indices are in blue; “performance” indices are in green. Since the indicator titles are long, they are listed separately in a key below the table.
1 – Percent of graduates completing a CTAE pathway, or an advanced academic pathway, or an IB Career Related Programme, or a fine arts pathway, or a world language pathway within their program of study.
2 – Percent of graduates completing a CTAE pathway and earning a national industry recognized credential.
3 – Percent of graduates earning high school credit(s) for accelerated enrollment via ACCEL, Dual HOPE Grant, Move On When Ready, Early College, Gateway to College, Advanced Placement courses, or International Baccalaureate courses.
4 – Percent of graduates entering TCSG/USG not requiring remediation or learning support courses; or scoring program ready on the Compass; or scoring at least 22 out of 36 on the composite ACT; or scoring at least 1550 out of 2400 on the combined SAT; or scoring 3 or higher on two or more AP exams; or scoring 4 or higher on two or more IB exams.
5 – Percent of students achieving a Lexile measure greater than or equal to 1275 on the Georgia Milestones American Literature EOC.
6 – Percent of students’ assessments scoring at Proficient or Distinguished Learner on Georgia Milestones EOCs.
Indicators 1-3 are categorized as “participation” because they are each about completing pathways (a prescribed sequence of courses) and [what are supposed to be] college level courses. The District does better than the State in two of these.
Indicators 4-6 are categorized as “performance” because they are each about success on exams (or not needing remediation in college). The District does worse than the State of two of these. Of greatest concern is Indicator 4 since four of the high schools underperform the state. This result is likely due to the dismal performance on AP exams throughout the county (only 11% of AP students passed exams in 2016). Douglas County High School is the only school that outperforms the state, likely due to the fact that the passing rate on IB exams is much higher than AP exams.
Other performance indicators are in the “Content Mastery” sub-category. These simply consist of the passing rates (“Developing Learner” or above) on the eight state exams required for high school students. These rates are shown below in Table 3.
While these passing rates are higher than in 2015 (the first year of the Milestones testing system), thus accounting for the “Progress” points, nonetheless they still lag behind the State norms in 6 of 8 subjects. The gaps are especially glaring in Math and Science.
Altogether then, of the 11 indicators that have to do with exam performance, Douglas County high school students perform worse than the State in 8 indicators.
For a District with one of the highest graduation rates in the state, one would expect higher levels of achievement, and thus a significantly higher CCRPI score (why doesn’t the District have one of the highest CCRPI scores in the state). The fact that more students complete pathways and advanced courses, and graduate, while achieving less suggests that academic standards have been systemically lowered in Douglas County high schools, making it easier for students to progress through the system.