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How the Department of Education determines the School Improvement Grant eligibility list and the School Achievement and Progress list on which it is based.
The School Achievement and Progress list includes data for 551 public schools that include at least one grade whose students participate in standardized testing. Students between grades 3 and 8 and in grade 11 take those exams.
The list does not include 70 schools that are K-2 schools, new schools with fewer than three years of testing data or recently closed schools. The list also does not include a few schools with testing populations small enough that releasing their results would violate federal privacy laws.
The School Achievement and Progress list is not a ranking of schools and is not intended to be used to make comparisons between schools. It contains data based on one measure only: standardized tests.
The School Achievement and Progress List includes one number each to represent a school's reading and math proficiency over the past three school years (2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10) and another number that represents average achievement over the course of those three years.
For each year, the Department of Education has calculated the percentage of students proficient in math and reading – meeting or exceeding the standards – in each grade level tested. This includes students who take the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA), the Maine High School Assessment (MHSA) and the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio (PAAP).
The resulting percentage is an average of reading and math proficiency rates.
To calculate progress, the Department of Education simply subtracts the 2007-08 achievement percentage from the 2009-10 achievement percentage.
The focus of this effort is to look at progress first and proficiency second, though both are important factors.
The Department of Education uses three years of data so one-year anomalies, especially at smaller schools, do not skew the results. In addition, three years of data makes it possible to focus on growth, not simply proficiency.
The list is not ranked, and the Department strongly discourages ranking for a number of reasons:
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