Virginia – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of the plan Virginia submitted to the US ED on September 14, 2017. SREB will update the profile when Virginia finalizes its plan.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators.

Virginia did not include college- and career-readiness expectations in its plan. Read about Virginia’s long-term goals and school performance indicators below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation and English language proficiency for English learners.

Virginia established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2024-25, 75 percent of all students – and each student subgroup – will be proficient on Virginia’s reading assessments, and 70 percent will be proficient on the math assessment.
  • By 2024-25, the percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – who are chronically absent will decline to 10 percent.

Graduation rate

  • By 2024-25, 84 percent of all students – and each student subgroup – will graduate from high school in four years, 85 percent will graduate in five years and 86 percent will graduate in six years.

English language proficiency

  • By 2024-25, 58 percent of English learners will meet annual progress targets on the state English language proficiency assessment.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Virginia established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards English proficiency on state assessment – WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

School quality or student success: Attendance – rates of chronic absenteeism

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Proficiency on state reading and math assessments – Virginia Standards of Learning test

Other academic indicator: Growth of low-performing students on state reading and math assessments – Virginia Standards of Learning test

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Proficiency on state reading and math assessments – end-of-course tests

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Six-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Virginia established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups and subgroup size.

Framework for differentiating schools in Virginia

On an annual basis, schools will receive numeric rates for combined indicators in reading and math, for all students and student subgroups. Virginia will not assign overall school ratings. Virginia will identify schools as CSI and TSI as required by ESSA; otherwise schools will be considered “not identified.” See figure below for how indicators are combined.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Virginia

Instead of assigning weighted percentages to each indicator, Virginia assigns schools numeric rates for combinations of indicators (see figures below) by calculating the percentage of students meeting annual targets on the indicators.

Elementary and Middle Grades

Reading

  • Academic achievement
  • Other academic indicator (student growth)
  • English language proficiency progress

Math

  • Academic achievement
  • Other academic indicator (student growth)

Other measures

  • School quality or student success
High Schools

Reading

  • Academic achievement
  • English language proficiency progress

Math

  • Academic achievement

Other measures

  • Graduation rate
  • School quality or student success

Student subgroups in Virginia

  • Subgroups used: For state accountability, Virginia will focus on seven student subgroups – economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, Asian students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, and white students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 30 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator. In instances in which a school has an n-count of fewer than 10 students in a subgroup, the subgroup results will not be reported publicly.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

ESSA requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Virginia established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, schools that meet any of the following criteria. 

    • CSI schools: Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide, based on
      • Not meeting state interim targets on the reading and math assessments, using current year data or an average of three years of data; or
      • Not reducing the failure rate on the reading and math assessments from the previous year by 10 percent
    • CSI high schools: Any school with less than a 67 percent four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
    • TSI schools: Title I schools that do not exit TSI status after three years

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies in supporting their schools by providing the following assistance.

    • Needs assessment tool
    • Required improvement interventions, based on issues leading to CSI identification
    • Technical assistance with improvement planning and monitoring, including one year of sustainability support for schools that exit CSI status after two years
    • Grant funding, and technical assistance with budgeting, monitoring and evaluating the use of funds
    • Professional learning, to include locally-selected sessions, required sessions and collaborative sessions with other schools and districts, on topics including school improvement planning, school leadership, aligning curriculum and instruction, and implementing research-based interventions

    For schools not exiting CSI status after three years, the state will require more rigorous interventions including a corrective action plan, technical assistance with implementing and monitoring the plan, at least three meetings annually to review data, progress reports for the state and a designated school improvement team of local education agency staff.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After two years, schools can exit CSI status by meeting the following criteria.

      • Making sufficient improvements in reading and math, so that they are no longer identified in the bottom 5 percent statewide
      • Making sufficient improvements to graduation rate, above 67 percent
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        • TSI schools: Identified annually beginning in 2019-20, any school that is “consistently underperforming,” defined as those previously identified for additional targeted support (see below) that do not reduce the student subgroup failure rate by 10 percent or do not improve student subgroup four-, five- and six-year graduation rates, after one or more years
        • Additional TSI schools: Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, any school with a student subgroup that meets any of the following criteria.
          • Does not meet state interim targets on the reading and math assessments, using current year data or an average of three years of data
          • Does not reduce the failure rate on the reading and math assessments from the previous year by 10 percent
          • Has an average reading and math performance rate below that of all students at the highest performing CSI school
          • Does not meet state interim targets for four-, five- and six-year graduation rates, and does not increase the graduation rate from the previous year by 2.5 percent 

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies in supporting their schools by providing the following assistance.

          • Grant funding, if sufficient funds are awarded, and technical assistance with budgeting, monitoring and evaluating the use of funds
          • Professional learning, to include locally-selected sessions, required sessions, and collaborative sessions with other schools and districts, on topics including school improvement planning, school leadership, aligning curriculum and instruction, and implementing research-based interventions

          Criteria for exiting this category

            Schools can exit TSI status by:

            • Meeting state interim targets or reducing the failure rate in reading and math by 10 percent for identified subgroups
            • Meeting state interim targets or increasing the graduation rate by 2.5 percent for identified subgroups

            This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.