‘Grades’ told on Iowa School Report Cards

It was Report Card Day not for students Jan. 12, but for Iowa’s public schools, when the Iowa Department of Education released the Iowa School Report Cards for 2016. This is the second year for the report cards, which were created to meet a mandate of the 2013 Iowa Legislature.

All schools in Greene County “passed.” Paton-Churdan Elementary was rated as “exceptional,” placing it in the top 2 percent of elementary schools in the state. Greene County Elementary was rated as “commendable.” Greene County Middle School and High School and Paton-Churdan Jr-Sr High School were rated as “acceptable.”

Greene County Intermediate School was not rated and scores were not provided in all areas. Superintendent Tim Christensen said last week he is unsure why, as all data was available.

A Department of Education press release explains that the Iowa School Report Card includes information on student proficiency rates in math and reading, student academic growth, narrowing achievement gaps among students, college and career readiness, student attendance, graduation rates, and staff retention.

Based on each school’s performance over a two-year period, the report card assigns one of six ratings: exceptional, high-performing, commendable, acceptable, needs improvement, and priority. The ratings are on a bell curve. Among elementary schools, 64 percent were rated as acceptable or commendable. Among high schools, 45 percent were rated as acceptable and 29 percent were rated as commendable.

In determining the final score, three of the areas have more weight than others – proficiency (the percentage of students at proficiency or better on reading and mathematics assessments); closing the achievement gap (narrowing the gap in achievement for students with disabilities, students who are eligible for free and reduce-price meals, and English language learners); and annual expected growth (the percentage of students making a year of academic growth in a year’s time on reading and math assessments).

Ratings and scores in  most weighted areas for schools in Greene County:

  • Paton-Churdan Elementary earned 83.4 points with 91.4 percent proficiency and 67.9 percent annual expected growth. No rating was given for closing the achievement gap.
  • Paton-Churdan Jr-Sr High School earned 62.1 points with 85.3 percent proficiency, 35.8 in closing the gap, and 62.2 percent in expected growth.
  • Greene County Elementary earned 72.6 points with 76.9 percent proficiency, 58.1 in closing the gap, and and no rating given for expected growth.
  • Greene County Intermediate was not rated but the report card lists 76.6 percent proficiency and 54.5 percent expected growth.
  • Greene County Middle School earned 63.3 points with 80.5 percent proficiency, 49.1 for closing the gap, and 65.4 percent in expected growth.
  • Greene County High School earned 65.2 points with 86.1 percent proficiency, 55.9 points for closing the gap, and 41.8 percent expected growth.

The Iowa School Report Cards are informational only. There is no reward or consequence for a rating. It is intended to aid conversation about a school’s strengths and challenges. According to the Department of Education, “parents and community members can use it to celebrate areas of growth and as questions, such as how a school is addressing a particular challenge and what they can do to help.”

Complete reports cards and much more information can be found at www.educateiowa.gov/schoolreportcard.

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