Every now and then, info pops up about the Alabama Accountability Act. (You remember the bill that was rushed through the legislature on Feb. 28, 2013 without knowledge of the state school superintendent or state school board. The same one that has now diverted more than $70 million from the Education Trust Fund.)
Anniston Star reporter Tim Lockett remembered AAA a few days ago and came up with this article that looks at when the public will have a chance to look at test scores from students in private schools who have received a scholarship because of this legislation.
Unfortunately Lockett learned that information will not be broken down on a school-by-school basis as is the case for public schools.
“But when that data is released in September, it won’t be broken down on a school-by-school basis — a stark contrast from the testing regime at public schools, which will soon get A-through-F grades based on standardized test scores.” Lockett reports.
“We’re trying to compare kids in the program to comparable kids who are in public schools,” said Joan Barth, a faculty member at the University of Alabama’s Institute for Social Science Research, which is crunching the Accountability Act test numbers..
That report is due Sept. 1, but state officials and researchers say that means we won’t get school-by-school accounts of test performance, comparable to the state’s annual reports on the progress of public schools.
“If they requested that we do it that way, we probably could,” said Barth, the researcher.
Only the test scores of scholarship recipients are collected, which means a school-by-school report could run afoul of student privacy law.
“For some schools, there might be only one scholarship recipient,” Barth said. “You don’t want a child to be identified in the results.”
Instead, Barth said, the September study will look at the test scores of certain types of students – she used the example of a white, male fifth-grader – compared to students in public schools with similar demographic backgrounds.
Once again the taxpayer is left scratching his head and wondering why there is scant accountability in the accountability act.