2013 District Accountability Designations
November 5, 2013
What does “Needs Improvement” mean to Cabot Public Schools based on the new accountability system?
During the 2012-2013 school year, all schools in Arkansas implemented a new curriculum based upon the Common Core State Standards.
Yet, all students were tested over the Arkansas State Standards as required by the Arkansas Department of Education.
How is district accountability status determined? Each district and school has specific targets called the Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) targets. These targets were set by the Arkansas Department of Education based on previous assessment results. The better each district performed on the Benchmark and End of Course Assessments in 2011, the higher the targets were set. Targets will continue to increase each year in the future.
Targets are identified for two specific groups for each district. The first is the All Students Group and the second is the Targeted Assistance Gap Group (TAGG). The All Students Group is comprised of every student in the school who participates in the state-mandated assessment system. The TAGG group is comprised of students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students who are economically disadvantaged.
In order to be designated as an “Achieving” district, the district must meet all four of the following criteria:
Meet the AMO target in math for the All Students Group
Meet the AMO target in literacy for the All Students Group
Meet the AMO target in math for the TAGG Group
Meet the AMO target in literacy for the TAGG Group
If a district does not meet the AMO target for any single category, they are assigned the designation of “Needs Improvement” regardless of the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced. The Arkansas Department of Education has reported that 90% of the schools in our state are identified in some area of school improvement based on this new system.
The “Needs Improvement” designation can be misleading. As a district, our scores are strong and our AMO targets are quite high as a result. In comparison, there are districts in Arkansas whose scores are significantly lower than Cabot's that are designated “Achieving.” This is because their AMO targets are not as high.
It is exciting to have our schools recognized as some of the highest overall achieving schools in Arkansas, yet disappointing to be designated as “Needs Improvement” on the accountability system. Our teachers are doing a great job of implementing the required Common Core State Standards in both literacy and mathematics.
The Cabot School District continually strives to provide a high quality education for every child in our district. We are proud of the achievement of our students and our schools.