House Bill 47 would force the state to rate school districts using a faulty model – one that is likely to drive down school district ratings. The bill also adds another layer of bureaucracy (and grows state government) by duplicating, in the Office of the State Auditor, a significant portion of MDE’s accountability ratings process.
HB 47 requires districts to be rated every year using the most recent year’s test scores as the basis for their accountability rating, even in years when a new assessment is in place. Our accountability ratings are based largely on academic growth from one year to the next, and actual growth can be measured accurately only when the same test is given two years in a row.
Judging our students’ and schools’ success based on never-before-seen tests is wrong. In the first year of a new assessment, it is not unusual for a school or district to drop at least one letter grade, opening up more districts to charter schools and state takeover. HB 47 should be amended to provide an exception for the first year after a new assessment has been adopted by the state and to remove the additional bureaucracy created within the Office of the State Auditor.