Rockdale County Schools did slightly better than the state average in the new state "report card" or College and Career Readiness Index, which replaced the federal No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress measurement.
The Georgia Department of Education released scores for 2013 (2012-2013 school year) and recalculated 2012 (2011-2012 school year) data for its second report card, which measures schools and school districts on a 100 point scale.
The RCPS District Score for 2013 was 76 while the State Score was 75.8
Rockdale elementary schools scored significantly higher than the state in 2012 scores - 80.7 RCPS compared to 74.9 state-wide. Rockdale elementary schools dropped slightly for 2013 while the state improved - 78.9 versus 78.5.
Rockdale middle schools were significantly higher than the state in 2012 - 81.1 versus 73.9. The scores came closer together in 2013 as Rockdale's dropped and the state rose slightly - 77.7 versus 75 state-wide.
Rockdale high schools were lower than the state in 2012 - 65.5 versus 73. RCPS high schools improved by more than five points in one year and the state dropped slightly to narrow the gap - 70.6 versus 72 state-wide.
The scores released today are based on a new set of rules and calculations, different from the scores released May 2013 for the 2012 pilot year. In order to compare the two years, the 2012 scores were also recalculated using these new rules and calculations. While this provides a similar calculated score, school officials noted that many of the indicators and requirements on state assessments have changed.
RCPS school officials expressed frustration at the changing formulas and moving targets. The formula for calculating the CCRPI was revised after the tests were already finished. And many of the benchmarks are still changing, said Assistant Superintendent Gene Baker at Thursday's school board meeting.
Superintendent Richard Autry pointed out the CCRPI already has many parts that already make it difficult for teachers and principals to understand.
"It's one thing to have a complex system. It's another to have a complex system and change the target every year," said Autry.
Autry praised the progress in closing the gap between the state high school score average and RCPS high school score average.
"The new calculated scores show that our students continue to perform above the state at the elementary and middle school levels," said Autry. in a released statement. "However, what we are most encouraged by is the gap closure between our high school score and the state's high school score. Having a 5.1 increase in one year is a significant improvement and is a testament to the hard work being done at the classroom level. We are currently analyzing the new CCRPI indicator weights and calculations so that we can pinpoint specific areas for improvement at all levels. The 2013 change in the calculation weights from overall achievement to the closing-the-gap category highlights the need for continued focus on our students with disabilities and those with language barriers. While we are pleased that our district exceeded the overall state average, this new CCRPI accountability system represents a multifaceted approach that will require time to fully understand and effectively utilize."
State-wide, elementary schools saw a one-year increase in scores from 74.9 to 78.5 (+3.6), middle schools saw a one-year increase in scores from 73.9 to 75.0 (+1.1) and high schools saw a one-year decrease in scores from 73.0 to 72.0 (-1.0).
In neighboring Newton County, the school district earned a 73.4 in 2012 and improved to a 75.2 in 2013. Newton schools seemed to follow the statewide trend, with elementary and middle schools improving and high schools dropping in scores from 2012 to 2013.
In addition to scores based on the 2013 school year, recalculated scores for the 2012 school year were also released today. Since the first "study year" of CCRPI implementation in 2012, the State has received valuable feedback from education partners and the public, and has revised and refined the CCRPI to make a more meaningful report. The 2013 data was calculated reflecting the new calculation, and the 2012 scores were recalculated applying the new calculation methodology to the same 2012 data.
"Many people have worked hard to make sure the CCRPI provides the most accurate, effective measure possible of the work schools are doing to prepare students for success," Superintendent Barge said. "This is an index that is both comprehensive and simple to understand, and it is an important component of our efforts to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for whatever they choose to do, whether that be going to college, joining the military, or immediately beginning a career."
For more information about CCRPI, visit the Georgia Department of Education at http://www.gadoe.org/CCRPI/Pages/default.aspx
The CCRPI is Georgia's statewide accountability system, implemented in 2012 to replace the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurement, after the U.S. Department of Education granted Georgia's waiver from NCLB on Feb. 9, 2012. It measures schools and school districts on an easy-to-understand 100-point scale, helping parents and the public better understand how schools are performing in a more comprehensive manner than the pass/fail system previously in place under AYP.