August 26, 2017, Charleston Gazette Mail

West Virginia’s proposed federal Every Student Succeeds Act compliance plan, which includes a planned new public school accountability system plus plans for how to improve schools that score low in that system, is seeing significant changes and public praise and criticism ahead of its scheduled submission to the U.S. Education Department next month.

Among the changes so far, the state Department of Education is now planning to take into account schools’ five-year high school graduation rates, atop their four-year rates.

The department is also abandoning its proposal to initially assign each of its four planned labels for school performance measures to a quarter of elementary, middle and high schools. This would have been done by comparing Mountain State schools’ performance only to other in-state schools on each performance measure and, for each measure, assigning the lowest label to the bottom-scoring 25 percent, the next lowest to the next 25 percent, and so on.

The plan is online for public comment through 4 p.m. Wednesday at Michele Blatt, the state education department’s assistant superintendent over the Division of Support and Accountability, said the state Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the plan Sept. 7 or Sept. 8. The federal education department must then review it.

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