RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is looking at making changes to the School Accountability System.

The system determines which schools receive A-F grades.

“The current system really fails to adequately identify those specific schools and districts that are most in need of support,” said Deputy State Superintendent, Michael Maher. 

He says one of the biggest issues with the current system is it relies heavily on standardized tests leading to more schools across the state getting D and F scores.

“The elementary and middle school those grades are heavily weighted toward growth and proficiency, specifically proficiency on standardized assessments, so one day, one test, that’s how you end up with the score,” said Maher. “The high school level you have a few more factors including graduation rates, so we see fewer high schools rating D and F but that’s because they have more factors.”

That’s why the state is looking at adding more factors to the School Accountability System.

A report presented to the house K-12 education committee this week outlined several recommendations aimed at improving school performance grades.

The recommendations listed include:

  • Five-year cohort graduation rate: the percentage of students who fulfill graduation requirements within five years of entering grade 9.
  • Chronic absenteeism: the percentage of students who exceed a specified number of absences deemed to be chronic.
  • Improvement in student group performance: measures of subgroup performance as defined by growth targets and actual outcomes.
  • Postsecondary Inputs:
    • Elementary: Percentage of students who participate in a career exploration activity.
    • Middle: Percentage of students who have a career development plan.
    • High school: Percentage of students who fulfill at least one of a defined list of postsecondary preparation programs/classes/certifications.
  • Postsecondary Outcomes: Percentage of graduates who either have confirmed acceptance or enrollment in a postsecondary institution, enlistment in the military, or employed.
  • Extra/Intra Curricular: Percentage of students who participate in at least one extracurricular or intra-curricular activity.
  • Durable Skills: Informed by the developing rubrics for the competencies defined by the Portrait of a Graduate initiative.
  • School Climate: Possibly a student, teacher and parent survey instrument.

Test scores will still be factored into determining school performance grades as they are required by law. The report proposes no adjustments for how test scores are weighted in the current accountability model – 80 percent performance and 20 percent growth, but focuses mainly on new indicators of school quality.

You can find more information on the school performance grade redesign here.