What You Missed Over the Summer!

It was a busy summer, with the release of the most recent Five-Star Rating results, the Technology Pilot Program grantee announcement, and other news. Here's a recap on some of the news you may have missed:

Five-Star Rating Results

Idaho schools continued to improve this year, according to the results of the Five-Star Rating System. More than half of Idaho's schools- 385 schools- were rated as Four- and Five-Star schools for 2012-2013. That's up six schools from the 2011-2012 school year. The total number of One- and Two-Star schools also decreased from 99 to 88 schools this year.

Star Rating 2011-2012 Results 2012-2013 Results
5 Star Schools 78 91
4 Star Schools 301 294
3 Star Schools 170 175
2 Star Schools 64 66
1 Star Schools 35 22
Total Schools 648 648

This is the second year Idaho schools have been measured by the Five-Star Rating System. Prior to the new system, schools were rated on a single measure—Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Under Idaho's waiver from No Child Left Behind, schools are now measured on multiple measures, including academic growth, academic proficiency, and post-secondary and career readiness.

Next year, Idaho plans to administer the Smarter Balanced field test. The state does not plan to administer the ISAT, in order to avoid double testing. Star ratings from the 2012-2013 school year will be held over to the 2013-2014 school year during this transition. The state will be working with the U.S. Department of Education over the next several weeks to revise our waiver and determine expectations for school improvement identification during the 2014-2015 school year.

To see the full results of the Five-Star System, please visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/assessment/FederalReq/.
To learn more about the Smarter Balanced Assessment, please visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/commonAssessment/.
To learn more about Idaho's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver, please visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/esea/.

Technology Pilot Projects

In July, eleven schools were named Idaho Technology Pilot Program grantees. As a grantee, these schools will pilot innovative technologies that, if successful, may be scaled statewide to help raise student achievement.

The funding for the pilot project is part of the $3 million appropriated by the Idaho Legislature in March. Eighty-one schools submitted applications for the grant funding. The eleven schools that were selected, including:

  • Beutler Middle School in Dayton
  • Compass Public Charter School in Meridian,
  • Discovery Elementary School in Meridian
  • Idaho Distance Education Academy based in Deary
  • Kuna Middle School in Kuna
  • McCall-Donnelly High School in McCall
  • Middleton High School in Middleton
  • Moscow Middle School in Moscow
  • Park Intermediate School in Weiser
  • Parma Middle School in Parma
  • SugarSugar Salem High School in Sugar City

To learn more about each of the selected grant applications, please view the following presentation by clicking here.

Idaho High School Wireless Managed Service Project

Earlier this year, legislators set aside $2.25 million for the state to connect every public school serving high school grades with wireless internet. In June, the state released a Request for Proposals for a managed service to provide high-speed wireless internet, as well as the necessary support, maintenance and filtering. After a thorough review process by a committee made up of school district officials, technology experts, and State Department of Education staff, the contract was awarded to Education Networks of America (ENA).

The wireless infrastructure will be an extension of the Idaho Education Network (IEN) broadband system, also managed by ENA, which currently connects every public high school with high-speed bandwidth.

SchooSchool districts were given the opportunity to opt in to the state's wireless infrastructure over the summer. Those who chose to participate will receive the wireless service, paid for by the state, during the 2013-2014 school year.

For more information on the Idaho High School Wireless Managed Service Project, please visit: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/tech_services/requestForProposal.htm

Smarter Balanced Practice Tests Now Available

At the end of May, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium released sample test questions for grades 3?8 and 11 in both English language arts/literacy and mathematics, similar to questions students will see in the new assessment they will take beginning in Spring 2015.

Teachers caTeachers can access these example questions to incorporate in lesson plans or upcoming professional development opportunities. Parents can take a look and better understand what students will be expected to know and be able to do at the end of each grade level, and students can experience the features of this new test and how it might differ from the ISAT.

The Practice Tests are freely available on the Smarter Balanced website at http://sbac.portal.airast.org/ along with scoring guides.

(Please note: the Practice Tests are not currently available for viewing on Internet Explorer. They are available on most other browsers, including Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.) . The PracticThe Practice Tests include questions with the same features that students will experience in the 2014-15 school year. The test system also includes an initial set of accessibility tools for all students and accommodations—such as Braille—for those who need them.

The tests provide a preview of the Smarter Balanced assessments, but they do not reflect the full range of content that students may encounter on the operational assessments. In addition, students and teachers will not receive reports or scores from the Practice Tests.