By GreatSchools Staff
The state rating is designed to hold your school accountable for student learning. It shows you, in a nutshell, where your school stands in relation to other schools in the state.
Several states have created state rating systems designed to show if schools are achieving standards set by the state, and to provide a quick way to compare schools within the state. The state rating is based primarily on how well students score on state standardized tests. It gives you a quick snapshot of the school. Some states also weigh into their ratings whether schools have shown improvement on test scores over time; attendance; performance by low-income students, special needs students and English language learners.
States have introduced school ratings in response to public pressure to improve schools. Ratings are one part of an accountability system that typically includes standards for what students are taught, tests to measure whether students are learning what the standards spell out, and, in some states, rewards and penalties.
California has the Academic Performance Index, Florida gives each school a grade from A to F, and Texas has the Texas Accountability Rating. These and 24 other states have devised their own system for rating schools. In California, the rating is based on scores on the California STAR tests, and whether or not students improve their scores from one year to the next. In Texas it is based on the state test, TAKS; dropout rates for grades 7 and 8; and school completion rates for grades 9 to 12. In Florida, the school grade is based on the overall performance on the state test, the FCAT; the percentage of eligible students who took the test; and whether or not students made progress in reading and math.
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