The 2019 edition of the Wyoming school accountability system has been completed, and while the results look a lot like the 2018 edition, a closer look at the results gives the impression of some overall improvement.
There were 6.7% fewer schools in the Not Meeting category and 2.4% more schools in the Exceeding Expectations category. Fully 17 schools went from the Meeting Expectations category to the Exceeding Expectations category. And, six schools went from Partially Meeting to Exceeding Expectations. Astonishingly, one school jumped from Not Meeting Expectations to Exceeding Expectations in a single year.
As one looks at the Indicator Target Levels for 2018 and 2019, there were a number of improvements that merit attention: Grade 3-8 Achievement increased 14.1% to 21.7% in Exceeding the target, while the percent of schools Below target decreased 36.1% to 29.1%; Grade 3-8 English Language Proficiency more than doubled from 14.1% to 29.8% in Exceeding the target, while the percent of schools Below target decreased 36.1% to 31.7%; High School Equity more than doubled from 12.7% to 27.7% in Exceeding the target, while the percent of schools Below target decreased 34.5% to 27.7%; and High School Grade 9 Credit increased 36.8% to 42.0% in Exceeding the target, while the percent of schools Below target decreased 32.4% to 29.0%.
When looking at the Indicator Target levels, it appears these targets are indeed malleable. Schools really can move the needle at the indicator level.
The 2018-19 results suggest the theory of action behind the state accountability model has merit. Fifty-two percent of traditional schools earned the same School Performance Rating in 2018-19, as they did in 2017-18. Additionally, 56.1% of traditional schools were Exceeding or Meeting Expectations last year, which is similar to the percentage of schools with the same ratings in 2017-18 (55.8%).
While just two years of data are not enough to draw major conclusions, the Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) is working in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to evaluate the results and impacts regarding school accountability.
The SBE hopes to maintain the current system of indicators, weights, and targets to find whether schools find the information useful and actionable. The board plans to work with WDE to assess whether the entire WAEA system has the desired effect to “move the needle of improving student achievement.”