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KPS Earns Solid Marks from Reports
Achievement Good When Compared Along Socio-economic Lines
Of 141 high schools statewide with more than 55 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, Loy Norrix and Kalamazoo Central placed first and fourth, respectively, for achievement according to a recent study by Bridge Magazine.
“The success of our high schools reflects not simply the great work of our high school educators, but of the educators and support staff at all levels in the district — elementary, middle school, and high school,” said Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.
The rankings used evaluation systems that factored in student socioeconomic status as Magazine looked at how well high schools prepare students for college or career training after they graduate. Evaluations were based on data from graduating classes of 2009, 2010 and 2011.
This year’s survey examined:
College readiness, or what percentage of a school’s juniors had done well enough on the ACT to be considered college ready in math, science, reading and English.
Post-high school enrollment, or the percentage of a school’s graduates enrolled in college or a certificate program within a year of graduation.
Post-high school progress, which measured what percentage of a school’s graduates had earned a certificate or degree or were still pursuing higher education within four years of graduation.
Schools were placed in four groups: those with fewer than 25 percent of students free and reduced-price lunch eligible, those having between 25 and 40 percent, those between 40 and 55 percent, and schools with more than 55 percent eligible.
Of all 620 high schools in the state, Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix high schools were two of 54 schools named to Bridge Magazine’s 2017 Academic State Champs.
In past years, the award was based on performance on state assessments, when adjusted for poverty. The magazine said this year’s rankings were dramatically different, because changes in the state’s assessment test made it impossible for the magazine to compare multiple years of test data.
Kalamazoo Public Schools also fared well in the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s The Michigan Context and Performance (CAP) Report Card for High Schools for 2016. Last year, the center released its Elementary and Middle School Context and Performance Database for 2015.
The CAP database evaluates a school’s performance by adjusting standardized test scores to account for student background — or, what it calls “the context” of a school. It pays particular attention to the socioeconomic status of students at each school, because of that factor’s impact on school performance. These report cards look at two years’ worth of new data.
In its 2015 report, the center says assessments that do not consider student backgrounds “can understate the performance of schools serving high-poverty students and overstate the performance of schools serving relatively affluent students.”
Scores were based on an analysis that predicted how a school would perform given the socioeconomic status of the students tested — and compared to actual school performance. A score of 100 meant the school performed as predicted given the relative level of student poverty in its community, while a score greater than 100 meant the school did better than expected and a score under 100 indicated a school did worse than expected.
In the recently released 2016 Michigan Context and Performance Report Card for High Schools, both Loy Norrix and Kalamazoo Central received above average scores in the CAP ratings and finished first and fifth, respectively, among Kalamazoo County public high schools.
Sixteen of the district’s 17 elementary schools and four comprehensive middle schools scored at or above average in the Mackinac Center’s 2015 CAP report looking at student success. No school was rated in the lowest 5 percent and only one school was in the lowest 10 percent statewide.
“There are many ways to evaluate, rate, judge and rank schools,” Rice said. “The exercise is a very complicated one. KPS doesn’t endorse any particular method or any particular organization’s way of evaluating schools.
“Nonetheless, seeing a variety of studies , especially those that factor in student socioeconomic status, helps to contextualize where the district’s schools are in their development.”