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Iowa Department of Education releases new school performance results, website
Iowa Department of Education
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Education today released new online reports showing how public schools performed in a new accountability system that meets the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal education law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.

“I’m thankful that the Every Student Succeeds Act puts ownership of school accountability back where it belongs: with states and local school districts,” Director Ryan Wise said. “We’ve gone from a federal accountability system that was prescriptive and punitive under No Child Left Behind to a homegrown system that focuses on helping schools find solutions that work for them."

The new reports, called the Iowa School Performance Profiles, include each school’s scores on a set of accountability measures. The reports display scores based on a school’s overall performance, as well as the performance of subgroups of students, such as children from low-income backgrounds.

The accountability measures include a unique indicator of school climate based on student surveys of engagement, safety and overall learning environment called Conditions for Learning. The other measures are: Student participation on state assessments, academic achievement, student academic growth, graduation rate, and progress in achieving English language proficiency. A postsecondary readiness measure will be added in 2019.

“We have a great opportunity through ESSA to take Iowa’s accountability focus beyond test scores and proficiency to look at school performance more holistically,” Wise said.

The new accountability system emphasizes student growth as measured by results on state assessments from year to year. This approach was based on feedback from Iowans who wanted a change from a previous federal accountability system that emphasized proficiency.

“While proficiency matters, schools also deserve credit for making significant progress with students,” Wise said.

The new reports specify schools that have been identified for additional support and improvement based on their performance. ESSA requires these identifications to ensure students have the same opportunities for success that exist for students in other schools. Of Iowa’s 1,302 public schools:

  • Thirty-four are identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement. Schools receive this designation either because their overall scores fall within the lowest 5 percent of Iowa schools receiving federal Title I funding, or because they are high schools with a graduation rate below 67.1 percent.
  • 307 are identified for Targeted Support and Improvement. Schools receive this designation if one or more student subgroup score is as low as the lowest 5 percent of schools in the state.

Identified schools receive support from the state and area education agencies and will develop improvement plans with input from local stakeholders. Schools also will have an opportunity to put resources toward a cohesive improvement effort.

Schools that are no longer performing within the lowest 5 percent of Iowa schools after three years will shed the Comprehensive or Targeted designations.

Sioux City Superintendent Paul Gausman said Iowa’s new system for school accountability and support is a welcome change from the federal system under No Child Left Behind.

“I appreciate the changes to the previous systems and the leadership from the Iowa Department of Education in the development of this data and report,” Gausman said. “This new system gives local leaders useful information about where and with what groups improvements are needed, and a support system so that we better understand our strengths, areas for improvement, and focus for our future.”

To access the Iowa School Performance Profiles, visit www.iaschoolperformance.gov.

For more information on the Every Student Succeeds Act in Iowa, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

NOTE: The Iowa School Performance Profiles are different from the Iowa School Report Card, developed in 2015 to meet a state legislative requirement. In 2019, the Iowa Department of Education will work to update data in the Iowa School Report Card and then merge the site with the Iowa School Performance Profiles. The goal is to ensure the state has one report card that meets both state and federal requirements.