PED Releases District Report Card

LAPS News:

The Pubic Education Department (PED) today released the District Report Card for last school year. The 2015-16 report summarizes student achievement, school board qualifications, educator quality, demographics, expenditures and parent satisfaction. Highlights for Los Alamos Public Schools include:

  • High graduation rates and proficiency in reading and math that consistently outperform state averages;
  • Enrollment growth and increased demographic diversity; and
  • High levels of parent satisfaction on the Quality of Education Survey.

School Board President Jim Hall noted that the lowest area of satisfaction on Quality of Education Survey was state question #2: My child’s school building is in good repair and has sufficient space to support quality education. Hall added that “voting ’yes’ on the upcoming School Bond election will help address these parental concerns.”

School Bond ballots will be mailed Jan. 3, 2017 to voters in Los Alamos. Ballots must be received by 5 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office.

The overall 2015-16 Los Alamos Public Schools grade is a“B.” The grading system is based upon a “growth model” developed by PED staff. 

The New Mexico system was reviewed in 2013 by a team of Los Alamos physicists, statisticians and math experts. The group concluded that the report contains helpful data; but, does not clearly convey the proficiency of students or the true measure of a school’s worth. 

One of the reviewers was Dave Higdon, a Los Alamos National Laboratory statistician who earned a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Washington.

“Any system based on growth – has never been successful,” Higdon said. Team member Bill Wadt said he doesn’t think the system would “pass peer review in the scientific community” and was not sure he could easily explain it. 

As a high achieving school district, it is statistically challenging for LAPS to demonstrate annual growth. This results in a fluctuation between A and B grades each year.

LAPS has provided suggestions to PED on ways to improve the system to make it more useful to parents and teachers.

The District Report Card summarizes data from multiple sources, including the LAPS 120th day data submission to PED, the PED Accountability Bureau, NM School Boards Association, PED School Budget and Financial Analysis Bureau, the Quality of Education Survey, and the National Student Clearinghouse. Data errors in this year’s draft Report Card were identified and sent to PED staff.

More information can be found at http://www.ped.state.nm.us/ped/DistrictReportCards.html.

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