Ranking and Penalizing Schools

Fifty percent of a school’s rank on the state’s TTB list is determined by overall average student test scores, 25 percent on student growth and the other 25 percent on the achievement gaps between the top-scoring 30 percent of students and the bottom-scoring 30 percent of students. Graduation rates also factor into scores for high schools.[19]

A school’s rank on the TTB list largely determines which accountability category that school will fall into — Priority, Focus or Reward. MDE has determined that Focus schools are those that have the largest achievement gap between the top- and bottom-scoring 30 percent of students. Approximately 10 percent of Michigan schools are identified as Focus schools.[20] Districts with Focus schools must notify parents of this label, consult with state officials about strategies to reduce the achievement gap, set aside Title I funds to implement state-prescribed reforms and meet other state-mandated requirements.[21]

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Priority schools are those in the lowest 5 percent of Michigan schools based on the TTB list or schools with a graduation rate of 60 percent or less for three consecutive years. Priority schools are under state supervision for four years.[22] Along with additional reporting requirements, these schools must develop a plan that follows one of the four intervention models created by the U.S. Department of Education: termination of the principal, firing of half the teaching staff, closure of the school, or reopening the school as a charter public school.[23]

Reward schools are schools that made “Adequate Yearly Progress” and rank in the top 5 percent of Michigan schools according to the TTB list, had the greatest gains in student achievement or were identified as outperforming schools with similar student populations (“Beating the Odds”).[24] The state promises to identify Reward schools and highlight successful practices.[25]