More confusion about CPS closing criteria

Value-added scores alone would not have made a school higher-performing. If you look at total weighting, in our best three of four measures it’s much further weighted toward ISAT measures than value added.

—CPS’ Officer of Portfolio Planning and Strategy, Adam Anderson, quoted in a recent Chicago Tribune article.

Background

CPS categorizes welcoming schools as “higher-performing” based on one of two sets of criteria:

1.The welcoming school must be at a higher Performance Policy Level than its respective closing school (with Level 1 being the highest, based on the total number of Performance Policy points). Value-added scores account for 15% of a school’s total Performance Policy points (a maximum of six out of a possible 42 points).

— or —

2. If two schools are at the same level, one is deemed “higher performing” if it is better on three of the following four criteria:  a) Percentage of points on the CPS Performance Policy, b) Percentage of students meeting or exceeding the ISAT composite, c) Value added reading score, and d) Value added math score. By this criteria, a Level 3 school can be called “higher performing” than another Level 3 school, as if to say it’s a “better bad” school.

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Issues

When Adam Anderson states that “value-added scores alone would not have made a school higher-performing,” he was probably talking about the impact of value-added on determining a school’s Level (1, 2, or 3).  (More information on CPS’ Performance Policy.)

However, he adds “if you look at total weighting, in our best three of four measures it’s much further weighted toward ISAT measures than value-added.”

Here he is mistaken, because value-added accounts for two of the four measures he references and is itself based on ISAT scores. CPS explains value-added as the district measure of growth on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).

Consequences

The second set of criteria has been used to justify closing 24 schools.  In the case of five of the schools (Altgeld, Delano, Goodlow, Manierre, Mayo) the receiving school met the “three out of four criteria” by including both value-added measures, reading and math. In the 19 other cases the receiving school was higher on at least one of the value-added measures.

In moving from CPS’ original criteria of higher performing (e.g. Level 1, 2, or 3) to their redefined “better bad” criteria (e.g. higher on three of four metrics a, b, c, and d above) CPS essentially reweighted the impact of value-added in 19 cases from 15% to 33% (a, b, with c or d) and in five cases, to 66% (a or b, with c and d).