Schools would be evaluated on more than just test scores under a bill moving forward in the legislature.
Test scores give the state a benchmark upon which to measure schools, yet Education Committee Chairman, Senator Greg Adams of York, says the state needs to give schools credit for improvement. He compared it to setting a goal of reaching six foot in the high-jump.
“If they were high-jumping five foot and you manage to get them to five-foot-four not to six foot, should we give them some credit in our accountability system? I say, ‘Yes, we ought to,'” Adams told fellow senators during floor debate.
Adams stated that there are schools in Nebraska that might never show the proficiency the state expects in reading, writing and mathematics, but should be given credit for their growth, their improvement. LB 870 would allow the state Board of Education to choose other measures to evaluate the state’s 249 school districts.
An amendment to the bill (AM 2023) would break down the State of Schools report to allow anyone to view the scores of demographic groups, would require probationary teachers to be evaluated each semester and would give further authorization of career academies.
Adams says the bill would expand how Nebraska schools are assessed beyond the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law, approved in 2001.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:35]