8VAC20-131-380. Measurement of school quality for accreditation.
A. School quality for the purposes of accreditation shall be measured for each school using multiple indicators as provided for in this part. School quality indicators include student academic outcomes and other factors that are associated with student learning.
Designation of school quality indicators for accreditation purposes by the board is based on the following criteria:
1. Research demonstrates that the indicator is related to academic performance;
2. Standardized procedures exist across schools and school divisions for collection of data used for the indicator;
3. The data about the indicator is reliable and valid;
4. Performance in the indicator can be positively impacted through division and school-level policies and procedures;
5. The measure meaningfully differentiates among schools based on progress of all students and student reporting groups;
6. The indicator does not unfairly impact one type or group of schools or students; and
7. The indicator is moderately to strongly correlated with school-level pass rates on state assessments.
B. Specific indicators designated by the board for accreditation purposes and defined in subsection F of this section include the following:
1. Academic achievement for all students in English (reading and writing), mathematics, and science as measured through board-approved assessments, including measures of student growth in English (reading and writing), mathematics, and English learner (EL) progress;
2. Academic achievement gaps in English (reading and writing) and mathematics for designated reporting groups, as determined through the performance of each reporting group against the state standard;
3. Graduation and school progress for schools with a graduating class as measured by the Graduation Completion Index;
4. Dropout rates in schools with a graduating class;
5. Student participation and engagement as measured by chronic absenteeism in schools; and
6. College, career, and civic readiness in schools with a graduating class.
C. When calculating passing rates and student growth on Virginia Assessment Program tests to measure academic achievement school quality indicators for the purpose of school accreditation, the following tolerances for EL and transfer students shall apply:
1. The scores of EL students enrolled in Virginia public schools fewer than 11 semesters may be removed from the calculation used to measure academic achievement school quality indicators applied to accreditation. Completion of a semester shall be based on school membership days. Membership days are defined as the days the student is officially enrolled in a Virginia public school, regardless of days absent or present. For a semester to count as a completed semester, a student must have been in membership for a majority of the membership days of the semester. These semesters need not be consecutive.
2. In accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-30, all students who transfer into Virginia public schools are expected to take and pass all applicable SOL tests in the content areas in which they receive instruction.
3. All students who transfer within a school division shall have their scores counted in the calculation of the school's academic achievement school quality indicators. Students who transfer into a Virginia school from home instruction or from another Virginia school division, another state, or another country in grades kindergarten through 8 shall be expected to take all applicable SOL tests or additional tests approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110. If the transfer takes place after the 20th instructional day following the opening of school, the scores on these tests may be used in calculating academic achievement school quality indicators applied to school accreditation.
4. Students who transfer into a Virginia middle or high school from home instruction or from another Virginia school division, another state, or another country and enroll in a course for which there is an end-of-course SOL test shall be expected to take the test or additional tests for that course approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-30 and 8VAC20-131-110. If the transfer takes place after 20 instructional hours per course have elapsed following the opening of school or beginning of the semester, if applicable, the scores on those tests may be used in calculating academic achievement school quality indicators applied to school accreditation in the year the transfer occurs.
5. Students who enroll on the first day of school and subsequently transfer to a school outside of the division for a total amount of instructional time equal to or exceeding 50% of a current school year or semester, whether the transfer was a singular or multiple occurrence, and return during the same school year shall be expected to take any applicable SOL test. The scores of those tests may be used in measuring the school academic indicator in the year in which the transfers occur.
D. Performance benchmarks. Each school shall be held accountable for attainment on each of the school quality indicators adopted by the board for accreditation purposes, based on measurement against performance benchmarks. Benchmarks measure actual performance or improvement or decline in performance over time, or a combination of the two, for each school quality indicator used for accreditation.
In establishing performance benchmarks, the board shall use standard analytic protocols to assess the impact on schools. Consideration is to be given to whether a proposed benchmark reflects the board's values and expectations, or if the proposed benchmark results in consequences that were not anticipated.
The board may incorporate additional indicators of school quality used for accreditation into this chapter according to the criteria in subsection A of this section, provided that when the board incorporates additional indicators, the board shall also establish performance benchmarks to assign performance levels.
E. Performance levels. Performance levels on school quality indicators are determined through the definition and application of board-established benchmarks. Performance levels shall be designated for each indicator as one of the following: (i) Level One: At or Above Standard; (ii) Level Two; Near Standard; or (iii) Level Three: Below Standard.
The performance levels are described as follows:
1. Level One: At or Above Standard. A school's achievement on the specific indicator demonstrates acceptable performance or performance above the benchmark or adequate improvement on the indicator.
2. Level Two: Near Standard. A school's achievement on the specific indicator, although below Level One: At or Above Standard, is within specified ranges of performance that either represent: (i) achievement near Level One or (ii) improvement from Level Three: Below Standard, within a specified range.
A school quality indicator within the Level Two: Near Standard range that does not improve to the Level One: At or Above Standard at the end of four years, with progress evaluated by the end of the second year as specified in 8VAC20-131-400 C 5, shall be designated as Level Three: Below Standard, at the end of the four-year period.
3. Level Three: Below Standard. A school's achievement on the specific indicator is below the performance benchmarks for Level One and Level Two.
Performance levels illustrate a school's standing for each school quality indicator. Displaying accountability information in this manner provides a comprehensive picture of a school's areas of strength, as well as specific areas where improvement is needed. Areas needing improvement shall be addressed through a multi-year school improvement plan or corrective action plan as provided in 8VAC20-131-400 D, which shall include specific interventions and strategies.
F. School quality indicators for accreditation purposes. Effective with the 2018-2019 school year, the board shall measure performance levels on the school quality indicators and apply them to accreditation, except as provided in 8VAC20-131-390 B 1 for the 2018-2019 school year.
1. The school quality indicators and performance levels for each are described in this subdivision:
2. To focus on continuous improvement for all schools, the benchmarks delineating the performance levels provided in subdivision 1 of this subsection may be adjusted as provided in subsection D of this section, through board-approved guidance. Adequate notice shall be provided to local school boards of any such adjustment.
3. The board may adopt special provisions related to the measurement and use of a school quality indicator as prescribed by the board. The board may also alter the inclusions and exclusions from the performance level calculations by providing adequate notice to local school boards.
4. The board may add new assessments or discontinue the use of existing assessments in the Virginia Assessment Program by providing adequate notice to local school boards. As specified in the Standards of Quality, the board may adopt special provisions related to the administration and use of any SOL tests as applied to school quality indicators for any period during which the Standards of Learning content or assessments in that area are being revised and phased in. Notice shall be provided to local school boards regarding the special provisions prior to statewide administration of such tests.
5. The board may adopt valid and reliable measures of student growth to be used in calculating the Academic Achievement Indicators for English and mathematics and in determining the progress of English learners toward English proficiency.
6. The board shall provide a process for a local school board to appeal the performance level designation for a specific school quality indicator for any school in the division. The board shall grant such appeals only in limited circumstances that warrant special consideration in designating performance levels. In order to appeal such designation the local school board shall submit a request to the board, signed by the chairman of the school board and the school superintendent, explaining why the school board is appealing the designation and shall include documentation supporting the request to change the performance level designation.
7. The board may designate and approve additional school quality indicators, according to its criteria as specified in subsection A of this section, provided that when the board incorporates additional indicators, the board shall also establish performance benchmarks to assign performance levels.
G. To establish performance levels for any of the school quality indicators that are based on Virginia Assessment Program outcome data in schools with grade configurations that do not house a grade or offer courses for which SOL tests or additional tests approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110 are administered, such schools shall be paired with another school in the division housing one or more of the grades in which SOL tests are administered. The pairing of such schools shall be made upon the recommendation of the division superintendent. The schools should have a "feeder" relationship and the grades should be contiguous.
Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 8, eff. January 11, 2018.