- Utah’s plan is based on transparent goals and targets for college and career readiness, places a strong emphasis on academic achievement and growth, and ensures that stakeholders, educators, and students have a clear understanding of how schools are serving students each year.
- Utah’s inclusion of science achievement and growth is a strong element of its plan, as is the state’s inclusion of different types of growth measures to create incentives for all students, including the lowest-performing students, to both achieve large gains and make sufficient progress to reach grade-level standards.
- In addition, the state clearly listened to stakeholders and created an accountability system with strong alignment between its indicators, A-F school grades, and identification criteria for low-performing schools.
- While Utah’s description of the indicators in its A-F system is straightforward, but the state does not directly incorporate individual subgroup performance into a school’s rating. Without additional data, it is difficult to know whether schools receiving high grades overall could be masking very low-performing subgroups, including those performing poorly enough to require the school’s identification for targeted support.
- The state’s non-inclusion of test participation rates is a red flag, deemphasizing the importance of measuring progress for all students.
- Utah omits some key details, such as how certain indicators (particularly growth) are awarded points within the overall index and, most critically, the grading scale that distinguishes the final grade a school receives. As a result, it is unclear whether Utah is setting rigorous expectations for school performance that are aligned with its long-term goals and appropriately weighting those indicators most associated with student success.
- Given that the state indicates it may not identify 5 percent of Title I schools every year with F grades and has not included the distribution of grades across schools, it is possible the state has set too low a bar for students.
- Utah provides minimal information in its plan for the actions and strategies that will be implemented to improve low-performing schools, and does not provide sufficient detail about its ongoing activities to engage stakeholders and educators.