June 6, 2012
This article is republished from the Gryphon Gazette, student newspaper at Animo Pat Brown charter school in Los Angeles. See the original article.
Monday, June 04, 2012
By Noel Nevarez and Elizabeth Sanchez
Reading teacher Catherine Perez works with her ninth grade students in Read 180. Many students come to APB far behind grade level in many subjects
This year, students aren't the only ones getting grades. For the first time ever, Green Dot teachers of core subjects, including math received a grade for how much their students learned.
Green Dot has decided to use a new system to determine a school's performance: Student Growth Percentile.
This new system allows a school to see the growth of student body over the years not based on individual test scores but rather on how much knowledge is gained. Not only is the student body judged with this program but as well as teachers and how well they are teaching core subjects.
Even with this new school performance system Pat Brown has outperformed other schools in both Ánimo and in the community. APB has a student percentile score of 68 while the teachers are scoring in the top half with each teacher having a score over 90.
"In my heart I've known that we have some of the best teachers in California here at Ánimo Pat Brown and now we have some numbers to agree with that," APB principal Joshua Hartford said.
Although APB has high overall SGP scores compared to other local schools it is not the best performing school in all of California.
This might be the case but Hartford said it has to do with the lack of knowledge some students might have had upon entering ninth grade at APB.
SGP allows the school to determine whether a student is actually learning at the school not how much the student already knew.
Hartford said he believes that this program reflects the accomplishments of a student here at APB.
"In a year at Ánimo Pat Brown students will learn more than if they spent a year at other high schools," Hartford said.
Hartford said other "high performing" schools should begin using this program. He believes it would help them determine whether the school is actually aiding the students' growth.
But many are wondering whether SGP is accurate in portraying a school's performance. Green Dot's Teacher Effectiveness Lead Phillip Parker claims this method is reliable.
"This wouldn't be reliable if we only used Green Dot students' scores in this calculation, but we don't," Parker said, this method uses "all of LAUSD's student data, in addition to three of Charter School districts - PUC (Partnership to Uplift Communities), Alliance College-Ready Schools, and Aspire Public Schools."
Currently only the school receives scores on the student body as a whole but soon the students will be able to have their own individual scores.
"Getting students their SGP scores is something that we're working toward, but it likely won't happen until next year" Parker said. "We want to spend some time looking at the best way to report this information to students and parents before we do."
Although students might have to wait to obtain their individual scores SGP will be around for a long time; they will provide both students and the school with a better idea on how they are learning.
This new system might innovate the way in which schools are being judged it's now not only about what the students know but rather what they're taught by the teachers.
Students at APB learned more in a single year compared to all other Green Dot schools.
Green Dot's new system is part of their work through The College Ready Promise.