Douglas County’s Elementary Schools’ CCRPI dropped by a stunning 8.4 points from 2016 to 2017, and is now below the state average (69.9 compared to 72.9) for the first time in a few years. Why did it drop so precipitously and why is it three points below the state?
The first table in the spreadsheet below compares the major CCRPI components from 2016 and 2017. Achievement (a composite measure of success from a single year) remained essentially the same; Progress (basically the change in test scores from the previous year relative to groups of similar students across the state) declined by 2.7 points; Achievement Gap (the success or progress of the lowest 25% of students relative to state norms) declined by 1.7 points; and the Challenge points (up to 10 extra bonus points earned through a variety of means) dropped from 4.1 to zero.
Since the Challenge points fell the most, let’s look more closely at what that means.
In 2016, the district earned its 4.1 challenge points because its disadvantaged populations (Economically Disadvantaged, English Language Learners, and Students with Disabilities) met their test score targets in 7 of 12 possible areas (this ratio is multiplied by the proportion of the total population classified in one of these categories). But in 2017, no test score targets were met by these groups! Specifically, the declines were in Math, Science, and Social Studies. Since these groups of students tend to dominate the lowest 25% of all students, this is also why the Achievement Gap fell.
That accounts for most of the decline. Compared to the state in 2017, we see that Achievement, Achievement Gap, and Challenge Points were lower. The second table breaks down the Achievement points. The biggest gulfs here with the state are test scores: we have more students failing tests, except for Science (indicators 1, 2, and 4) and fewer students are scoring at the top two levels (indicator 12; which means fewer finish the year at grade level!).
It should concern us all deeply that only 38% of our Elementary students are on grade level in any given subject. The numbers are alarming also for the state as a whole. This does not bode well for the future.
The power to change this lies in the local community. We have to hold school leaders accountable, while also recognizing that educating children is the work of the whole community. It will take a collective efforts by parents, grandparents, business leaders, in concert with the school system to bring about major improvements.