New Nebraska school accountability system to take test run

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A new Nebraska school accountability and improvement system will take a test run this summer before it is implemented in December.

Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt briefed State Board of Education members on Thursday about plans for the Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow.

“We are taking responsibility for the quality of schools across the state,” Blomstedt said. “And you know what? It’s about time.”

But he also said that until the state receives its requested waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind system, Nebraska schools will have to comply with state and federal accountability systems. He told the board that he couldn’t say when the waiver might be forthcoming.

The new system, mandated by state law, will classify schools at one of four levels, from “excellent” to “needs improvement,’’ and tailor improvement plans for low-performing schools, according to the Lincoln Journal Star ( ).

Although most of a school’s rating will be based on test scores, graduation rate, improvement and growth from year to year, other factors also will be considered.

State education officials will try out the system in August using 2013-14 test scores, giving schools an idea of how they rate. The test also will give state officials a chance to make any necessary changes. The real classifications will be released in December.

The new system will hold schools accountable not just for student achievement, said the board president, Rachel Wise, but also for how well they go beyond minimum state accreditation standards.

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