State seeks feedback on K-12 accountability system

State Department of Education officials are asking for the public’s feedback on a series of proposed changes to Idaho’s school accountability plan.

The proposed changes are coming forward in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the feds approving Idaho’s school accountability plan.

Mandated by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the accountability plan is important for several reasons. It outlines goals for Idaho’s education system, benchmarks schools should meet and steps to be taken if schools fall short of the performance measures.

As part of the accountability plan, last year state officials identified the lowest performing schools in Idaho, recognized schools that met or exceed goals and identified hundreds of schools for targeted support and improvement. State officials also published online school report cards late in 2018.

Karlynn Laraway, the SDE’s director of assessment and accountability, said the recommendations were based on feedback from educators and the public.

One of the proposed changes involves switching from relying on a single year’s worth of data to looking at trends captured in three-year averages.

“It doesn’t make sense to capture a single point in time when we’re really looking at systemic change in schools,” Laraway said.

Anyone interested in a summary of the changes may participate in a free online webinar at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Registration for the webinar is available online.

Some proposed amendments include:

  • Amending the identification requirements for comprehensive support and improvement to use a three-year weighted average, as opposed to a single year of data.
  • Excluding schools from targeted support and improvement identification when a subgroup (or subgroups) meets or exceeds Idaho’s interim goals. This is designed to fight over-identification of schools. Last year, several schools were identified for improvement while at the same time being recognized for meeting the state’s interim goals.
  • Amending graduation rate identification requirements for alternative high schools to use a three-year average of the five-year cohort graduation rate, not the four-year graduation rate. The threshold for identification would still be a graduation rate of less than two-thirds.
  • Amending proficiency exit criteria for English language learners.

Joe Kelly, West Ada school district’s administrator for assessment and testing, was one of seven people who attended a public meeting devoted to the proposed changes Tuesday.

“We really appreciate the fact, No. 1, you have been really transparent with data and, No. 2, you are looking at the system, to improve it,” Kelly told Laraway. “These changes are heading in the right direction.”

Have your say

Anyone interested in making comments on the proposed changes may send an email to Laraway at [email protected]


  • Through Feb. 1: SDE officials will accept comment on the proposed changed to the accountability system.
  • Feb. 14-15: The State Board of Education will consider approving the proposed changes.
  • March 1: Changes to the accountability plan are due to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • August: SDE will begin implementing any changes.

Clark Corbin

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