A group backed by Wake County’s business community is suggesting a revision of the state’s formula for calculating school performance grades that would still leave passing rates on exams and not growth as the primary component.
In the latest newsletter Friday of the Wake Education Partnership, the group agrees that it’s “problematic” to have the new A through F letter grades for each North Carolina school be based on a formula where 80 percent is for achievement and 20 percent is for growth. But while some critics of the formula want to make growth worth at least 50 percent, the Wake Education Partnership doesn’t go that far.
“A better balance of achievement and growth might be achieved with a 60/40 split (achievement/growth),” the Partnership writes. “This maintain a priority on achievement. Additionally, it challenges high achieving students to continue growing and rewards students achieving tremendous growth while catching up with their peers.”
The Partnership’s idea could come as a compromise between the different camps.
On one end, the N.C. School Boards Association is calling for at least a 50/50 split in the formula. Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat, filed Senate Bill 30 on Wednesday that would have student growth account for 60 percent of the grade.
At the other end, Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Senate Republican leader on education issues and sponsor of the original bill calling for performance grades, said earlier in the week that changes in the next few years are unlikely.
Tillman said he and other senators want a few years of data to see whether schools with low-income students can improve their grades or if schools with wealthier students fall back if they don't achieve growth.