School Accountability and Segregation Issues
Schools are graded primarily (90%) on how well their students perform on standardized tests. School performance scores are viewed without consideration of whether the school is serving a ‘fair share’ of students with disabilities – particularly students with significant disabilities. This combination encourages selective admissions (i.e., magnet and private schools) and/or selective recruiting practices, ‘counseling out’ and/or disciplinary removals of students not expected to contribute positively to the academic grade. These are not new issues but using such a high stakes accountability system with funding formulas and school comparison measures that were not designed for school systems that did not have to take on the responsibility for teaching all students creates additional issues for advocates to address.
The Council advocates for all schools accepting public funds to accept and offer students with disabilities all necessary and appropriate services in inclusive education settings (i.e., the least restrictive environments).
On October 10, 2014 the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and the Louisiana School Board Association hosted a webinar (below) to connect the dots in Louisiana’s education system. The webinar provided a case study of the impact of Louisiana’s Accountability and Funding systems on a school system’s financial health and the impact of and to students with significant disabilities. While the example uses one school system (Union Parish) it highlights issues that are pervasive throughout the Louisiana accountability and funding systems in education.
Click the image below to view the webinar:
Click here to view a copy of the presentation used in the webinar.
Student Performance and Accountability
Alternate Assessment (LAA2) Phase Out
Louisiana is phasing out the use of alternate assessments (LAA2). LAA 2 enabled many students with disabilities to have their performance measured on the same academic standards as their peers since it was based on the grade level expectations used for all students. LaTEACH successfully advocated for LAA2 to meet requirements for grade promotion and graduation.
The Council advocates for students with disabilities who require accommodations not available on the general assessment protocol to have alternate assessments based on grade level achievement standards (AA-GLAS) offered to them so their performance may be included in accountability systems.
End of Course Tests
High school students must take End-of-Course (EOC) tests following specific courses. Performance on EOC tests count as part of the student's course grade and are part of the requirements for graduation.
LaTEACH successfully advocated for flexibility in the percentage of EOC test performance used toward course grades of students with disabilities.
Teacher evaluations are based on student performance and measures of professional practices. For teachers of non-tested grades and subjects, the student performance evaluation includes performance on Student Learning Goals developed by the teacher and school administrator. Since Student Learning Goals do not have to align with goals and objectives on a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), there is the possibility that teachers will be motivated by factors other than student outcomes agreed upon by the IEP team.
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