North Dakota must analyze its data to ensure it’s identifying the right schools for support.
North Dakota will annually identify the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools based on all of the accountability model indicators. These schools will be labeled comprehensive support schools.
North Dakota will identify an additional 10 percent of schools from across the state for targeted support and improvement. Five percent of schools with the lowest subgroup performance will be identified, as well as the 5 percent of schools with the largest gaps in student achievement.
But North Dakota must analyze its data to ensure that it is identifying those schools with low-performing subgroups who are not making progress toward the long-term goal of reducing the percentage of nonproficient students, and to ensure that its 5 percent caps are not protecting schools with low-performing groups that would otherwise be identified.
Additionally, North Dakota proposes to wait until the 2019-2020 school year to identify targeted schools, but ESSA requires the first group to be identified in 2018-19.
North Dakota’s categories for classifying schools are a missed opportunity.
Finally, it is worth pointing out that North Dakota identifies only three categories of schools: general, targeted, and comprehensive. This misses the opportunity to identify, highlight, and learn from the state’s highest-performing schools.