All New, More Rigorous School Star Ratings Show Nevada's Students Making Academic Progress


- September 14, 2018

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Today’s release of the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) is highlighted by across the board improvement in student testing, the highest graduation rate ever and an increase of 17 elementary and middle schools in the 3-to-5 Star Rating category since 2017.

“As these data sets make clear, there has been improvement in student performance across the state in nearly every grade level and category,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “It is important to understand that each year, the NSPF becomes more difficult in order for schools to even maintain their Star Rating. In many cases this year, schools have improved and increased their Star Rating. In some cases, however, we saw improvement that has not kept pace with the more rigorous standards in the NSPF. While many schools improved this year, we understand we still have a lot of work to do in addressing gaps in performance between groups. Progress must reach all our students across this state and we cannot stop until it does.”

For the first time in four years, all of Nevada’s schools will have a Star Rating that includes high schools in the NSPF. Last year, the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) provided “informational” Star Ratings for elementary and middle schools as the state transitioned to the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) law.

“The new NSPF is built on different criteria from its previous release in 2014, realigning expectations to ensure students are adequately prepared to succeed in college or career with more rigorous requirements,” Canavero added. “This new NSPF has a renewed emphasis on growth in student achievement, a commitment to students from all backgrounds succeeding, and added measures of English language proficiency and school climate.”

In addition to official Star Ratings for all schools, the Star Rating for Nevada’s schools includes two school level designations – Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI).

“The CSI and TSI designations help the state and districts determine which schools and students need even more of our support and attention,” Canavero added. “CSI schools are defined by their low performance and high schools with graduation rates below 67 percent. For example, CSI includes schools in the bottom 5 percent of performance of all schools. TSI schools are defined by their large gaps in the performance between groups of students. For example, if a school is not meeting the needs of their English Learners, we know that’s where we need to provide extra help.”

2018 Star Ratings

  • Elementary Schools

    • 30 more schools were rated in 2018 over 2017;
    • Two more schools than last year achieved the 3- through 5-Star rating in 2018 for a total of 206;
    • English Language Arts (ELA) and math performance is up over the prior year;
    • English Learners (EL) increased 4 percent over last year on their state proficiency exam known as WIDA;
    • The 4-Star category saw a 3.8 percent decrease in the number of schools. Some of this decrease in 4-Star status is due to the TSI designation;
    • The 1-Star category saw an increase of 2.8 percent;
    • Chronic absenteeism rates (defined as schools having 10 percent of students missing 18 or more days) increased 2.5 percent over last year.
     
  • Middle Schools

    • 18 more schools were rated in 2018 over 2017;
    • 15 more schools moved into the 3- through 5-Star rating from last year for a total of 92 schools;
    • ELA and math performance improved over last year;
    • Students meeting growth targets in math scores increased 4 percent over last year;
    • EL scores increased 16 percent over last year on their state proficiency exam known as WIDA;
    • The 3-Star category saw a 9.6 percent increase in the number of schools. These schools appear to have moved from the 4-Star rating category as that group of schools saw a 7.1 percent decrease. Some of this decrease is due to TSI designation.
     
  • High Schools

    • 124 schools received their first rating since 2014;
    • Like elementary and middle schools in 2017, this is the first year for high schools to be rated;
    • Graduation rates increased across the state by 7 percent resulting in the highest ever statewide graduation rate of 80.85 percent. 
     

School Designations

Regarding the 2018 NSPF CSI and TSI categories, there are 148 schools designated as CSI (91 schools from the 2017 CSI cohort and 57 additional based on 2018 data). There are 112 schools that are designated as TSI (49 are elementary schools and 63 are middle schools). Additionally, 194 schools are receiving notification from the state that if they do not show improvement in the next year, they are in danger of receiving a CSI or TSI designation.

Schools that meet the CSI criteria cannot be rated higher than a 2-Star school and include schools that:  

  • Perform in the bottom 5 percent statewide;
  • Achieve 1-star schools; or
  • Graduate fewer than 67 percent of students. 

Schools that meet the TSI criteria cannot be designated higher than a 3-Star school and include schools that for two consecutive years, a subgroup of students does not meet specific performance targets or reduce the number of non-proficient students by 10 percent over the prior year’s performance in the following areas:

  • Academic achievement in math or ELA (i.e., proficiency);
  • Measures of academic growth (i.e., year to year progress);
  • Growth in the EL proficiency assessment (WIDA);
  • Measure of student engagement such as chronic absenteeism.

Nevada Supports CSI Schools as Our “Rising Stars”

Supporting our CSI (Rising Stars) schools is the state’s priority. The first cohort of 91 CSI schools was identified last year. The 91 schools identified in Cohort 1 will remain on the list for three years to receive intensive supports, with the goal of achieving a 3-Star rating after three years. Nevada is making progress, 61 schools from the original cohort showed improvement from last year. The second cohort, identified this year, includes 57 schools that meet the criteria based on performance during the 2017-18 school year. Schools on this list will qualify for additional funding support through state and federal programs.

BACKGROUND ON NSPF FRAMEWORK

The NSPF or Star Rating System is designed to summarize the performance of a school based on multiple indicators and measures specific to their grade levels. Stakeholder input from across the state helped shape the NSPF and parents, students, educators, and communities can use the Star Rating to understand how schools are performing as a whole, and as a starting point to dig deeper into the indicators and measures that determine the rating. Star Ratings are earned on a scale of 1 to 5 Stars, with a 1 star school indicating it did not meet state performance standards and a 5 Star school exceeding all expectations. Benefits of the NSPF include:

  • Highlighting successful schools so that performance improving methods can be shared around the state;
  • Stakeholders become empowered decision makers because they have more data available to them;
  • The alignment to State performance goals will drive continuous improvement.

The law requires five indicators be included in the accountability system, however Nevada exercised the significant latitude in the law to determine how those indicators are measured and weighted. Points are earned in each “Measure” which are then added together to create a score for each “Indicator.” The five Indicators are then added together to create a total Index Score which is on a scale between 1 and 100. This Index Score is then mapped to a Star performance level. The Performance Indicators, and the Measures that contribute to them, are customized for the Elementary, Middle and High School levels. Points available for each Measure and Indicator may vary between school level frameworks, however each framework has a total of 100 points possible.

The Elementary School cut scores are:

  • One-Star schools have an index score of zero to less than 27 (64 schools);
  • Two-Star schools have an index score of at least 27 and less than 50 (126 schools);
  • Three-Star schools have an index score of at least 50 and less than 67 (92 schools);
  • Four-Star schools have an index score of at least 67 and less than 84 (62 schools);
  • Five-Star schools have an index score of at least 84 and less than 102 (52 schools).

The Middle School cut scores are:

  • One-Star schools have an index score of zero and less than 29 (20 schools)
  • Two-Star schools have an index score of at least 29 and less than 50 (46 schools)
  • Three-Star schools have an index score of at least 50 and less than 70 (58 schools)
  • Four-Star schools have an index score of at least 70 and less than 80 (8 schools)
  • Five-Star schools have an index score of at least 80 and less than 102 (26 schools)

The High School cut scores are:

  • One-Star schools have an index score of zero and less than 27 (16 schools)
  • Two-Star schools have an index score of at least 29 and less than 50 (13 schools)
  • Three-Star schools have an index score of at least 50 and less than 70 (39 schools)
  • Four-Star schools have an index score of at least 70 and less than 82 (25 schools)
  • Five-Star schools have an index score of at least 80 and less than 102 (31 schools)