BSGE Gets a “C” ! Reply

Close your eyes and imagine, a group of principals sitting in the classroom, hands folded, while the School Board stands in front of room, handing the principals their progress report.  That is not a scene you would usually envision.  However, that is the idea Mayor Bloomberg and School Chancellor Joel I. Klein had when they gave out 1,224 New York City (NYC) public schools their first letter grades ever.
Just as the students get report cards every year, the NYC learning facilities got their yearly progress report, receiving grades that ranged from A through F.  According to the Department of Education (DOE) website, there were three categories on which they based their grades: Learning Environment, Student Progress, and Student Performance.  The grades were based on how high or low the schools scored on each one of the above-mentioned categories in comparison with other schools with similar characteristics, such as number of students, attendance, and social and racial composition of the pupils’ population, etc.
At about this time you might be wondering what grade did our school get?  I have bittersweet news for you. According to the New York Department of Education website, Baccalaureate School for Global Education High School got a solid A. However, BSGE Middle School scored a C, as did 25.5% of all schools in the City. BSGE received a score of 48.83, 1.7 points shy from receiving a B.
How did BSGE middle school come to receive that score?  As mentioned above, the DOE evaluated the schools according to three different categories.  In the area of Learning Environment BSGE Middle School received 10.5 out of a total of 15 points. In Student Performance the school scored 22.0 out of a maximum of 30 points. In Student Progress it obtained 16.3 out of 55 points. The last one was the lowest score of all three categories.
Nevertheless, BSGE High School exceeded on all three categories.  In Learning Environment it scored 12, (out of 15). In Student Performance, 20 (out of 30) and in Student Progress the high school achieved 43.4 points out of 55. The high school obtained an overall score of 75.4, earning a solid place in the A bracket, along with 22.3% of other high schools in the city.
The graph below compares the points given to both schools by the Board of Education, on each one of the three categories. As shown, Student Performance was the category BSGE middle school scored the highest. A first glance at the graph shows how the BSGE High School towers above the BSGE Middle School’s in Student Progress.
But, what is the difference between Student Performance and Student Progress?  To begin with, both categories have a different meaning for high school and for middle school. As explained by the DOE, when evaluating Student Performance the Board considers students’ testing levels on English Language Arts and Math.  However, when assessing high schools, the same category focuses on the school’s “success in graduating students.”  On the same note, Student Progress for middle schools measures the average of student improvement from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year.  However, for the high schools it is, “the evaluation of an annual student’s advancement towards graduation”. To evaluate a school’s Learning Environment, the DOE uses surveys and other data to find out factors related to attendance, safety, communication, learning conditions, etc.  This applies for both high schools and middle schools.
Twenty-three percent of schools in the city got an A including our BSGE high school, 38% got a B, and 12% of schools got either a D or F.  In Queens alone, 52 schools got C’s, including our BSGE middle school.
As it happens in many homes with children, the Schools which receive As and Bs are “eligible for rewards”, on the other side schools who get Ds, Fs, or 3 consecutive Cs will “face consequences” delivered by the DOE.  Besides the Progress Report, there are two other documents that may shed light on the school’s overall performance.  They are the Quality Review Score and the State Accountability Status.  These three evaluations can be found at the school portal, under the category of statistics. The website is: http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/30/Q580/default.htm.
It is interesting to think of your school working hard and studying at night so it can get a higher grade on its test next year.  It is a funny scenario, however it is happening and we all need to make an effort to raise our scores…. even the students.

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