Moab schools have finally received their first sets of test scores under the newly formed Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS). In July, Utah was granted a waiver from certain aspects of the federal No Child Left Behind Program. UCAS was developed to take place of the Adequate Yearly Progress measurements that were required by NCLB.
During a December meeting, Helen M. Knight Principal Taryn Kay presented the scores that each of the Grand County schools achieved for the years 2011 and 2012 to the Grand County Board of Education.
According to Kay, HMK is the only area school that accepts Title I funding, so it is the only school that is actually subject to the rewards and consequences associated with the UCAS scoring system.
For 2011, HMK received a total score of 421 points out of a possible 600. It was ranked at the 45th percentile for similar schools across the state, she said. Kay said that the scoring is based on a combination of how well students perform on the tests, as well as how much growth students have shown from one year to the next.
For 2012, however, HMK’s score dropped to 386 points, ranking the school in the 36th percentile for the state. Kay said that the large drop in the ranking is one of the drawbacks to the new system.
“It looks dramatic,” she said. “What happened was ... if your average growth percentile was below 50, you earned 100 points. If it was above 50, you earned 150. Ours was 49.”
Kay said that, while the difference looks dramatic on paper, the change was actually just matter of a few points.
Grand County Middle School ranked in the 57th percentile in 2011, and in the 62nd percentile for 2012. Grand County High School’s ranking went up from the 54th percentile to the 57th, according to the presentation.
Overall, all three schools are below the state goal of 480 points for elementary and middle schools, and 470 points for high schools. Kay said that state goal would put schools in approximately the 75th percentile.
Kay said that the state requires schools to try to make up half the difference between the school’s actual score and the state goal in six years.
“Those goals are a bit of moving targets,” Kay said. “We’ll base our school goals on achieving those averages.”
Grand County School District Superintendent Scott Crane said the UCAS system provides useful tools to help schools meet the goals.
“I think the important thing to remember is that now we have base data that we can compare every year and see how we’re progressing,” Crane said.