Accreditation Inflation

The initial accreditation results tell us that 18 of 44 Richmond schools were fully accredited this year.  There remain 26 schools that, even by the highly flexible standards of the Board of “Education,” have a problem.

A closer look at the data shows a situation that is worse – in a couple of cases, much worse – than even those numbers suggest.

ESH Greene Elementary

Greene is fully accredited this year, despite a sad history of decline.

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Recall that the accreditation benchmark is 75 for English, 70 for the other subjects.  Here we see Greene underwater in all five subjects.  Indeed, by any honest measure, Green would have run out its four years of failure last year.

But all that was before the “adjustments” provided some remarkable enhancements.  Here are this year’s results:

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49.5% of the Greene students flunked the reading SOL but the “adjustments” produced a score six points above the 75% benchmark.  (They stopped reporting writing in elementary school three years ago so we are spared the ambiguity in averaging the reading and writing pass rates to get to the English datum.)

Greene enjoyed similar, if smaller, “adjustments” in the other subjects; the school then “met” the benchmarks in all subjects except Science, where a ten point boost still left it thirteen points short.  The school remains fully accredited.  Never mind it plainly is failing to properly serve its students.

There are good, old English words to describe this situation.  Most of them can’t be used in polite company.

Seven other Richmond schools were boosted into accreditation in one or more subjects.  Fortunately, none as dramatically as Greene.

Franklin Military Academy

Franklin has done quite well recently, except for a problem with math.

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The “adjustments” this year camouflaged that problem.

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Linwood Holton Elementary

Holton’s picture is similar to Franklin’s.

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JL Francis Elementary

Francis has a persistent problem with reading; this year its SOLs dipped in math and science. 

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The “adjustments” this year cured the latter two problems.

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Miles Jones Elementary

In recent times, Jones has done well in history but has been borderline or below in reading, math, and science.

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The “adjustments” this year cured all those little problems.

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Southampton Elementary

Southampton had been improving but slid this year below the English and math benchmarks.

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The “adjustments” fixed that.

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Bellevue Elementary

Bellevue enjoyed the “adjustment” in math but not in reading.

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Richmond Community High

Community usually does quite well.  This year, however, its math performance slipped below the benchmark.

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The “adjustment” took care of that.

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Comment
Rant

VDOE writes the SOL tests.  They can boost the pass rates and accreditation rates simply by making the tests easier.  Yet they indulge in this opaque process to produce meaningless numbers that favor some schools over others.

Moreover, they do not adjust the scores for the one factor that they measure and that we know affects the pass rates: Economic Disadvantage.  Indeed, they have abandoned (pdf at p.102) their measure of academic progress, the SGP, that is independent of economic status.

(Their excuse for dropping the SGP is, they say (pdf at p.102), that they can’t calculate it until all the data are in at the end of the summer.  I don’t think they were too stupid to know that when they started with the SGP; I think they are lying: The SGP gave intolerable amounts of accurate, comparable information about teacher/school/division performance.)

And then we have Petersburg that has managed to remain without accreditation for at least fourteen years, despite all the helpful “adjustments.”  The Board of “Education” has at last figured out what to do about that: They are going to change the accreditation system to make the process still more byzantine and to make it easier for a school to remain accredited.

Your tax dollars at “work.”