Should Idaho Schools Be Rated Like Hotels?

Idaho public school officials' plan to provide accessible assessment of school performance is part of an effort to free the state of federal No Child mandates.
2012-01-11T13:00:00Z 2012-01-11T14:16:28Z Should Idaho Schools Be Rated Like Hotels?Times-News Twin Falls Times-News
January 11, 2012 1:00 pm  • 

BOISE • Idaho’s public schools will be rated much like hotels and passenger vehicles if a plan to exempt the state from federal No Child Left Behind benchmarks is approved.

The Idaho State Department of Education released Tuesday a draft plan to evaluate schools on a five-star basis, and tie new pay incentives for employees to each school’s rating. The new plan is one requirement of the state’s application for a waiver of NCLB requirements, due to the federal government by Feb. 21.

Why Five Stars?

State education officials say the five-star system is easily understandable and used across multiple venues to provide product and service ratings.

It also represents a move away from percentage-based assessments, meaning that a five-star school won’t just be one that achieves 90 percent of set goals. Unlike the strict pass or fail system of NCLB, state officials say the proposal recognizes both the achievements of schools and the work they need to do to gain better standing.

How Will It Work?

Schools will be graded on a point-based system that measures their performance in categories of student achievement, student academic growth toward achievement, reducing achievement gaps between student subgroups, preparing students for college and careers, and student testing participation.

A five-star school must gain at least 95 points on a 100-point scale, while one-star schools would receive 25 points or less.

Based on their rating, high-performing schools would be eligible for rewards, while one- and two-star schools would be required to produce yearly improvement plans. Three-star schools would also need to draft such plans, but would have more leeway than lower ranking schools.

Where Do I Weigh In?

State school officials are seeking public comment through the end of January on the plan.

It’s available for review online at, which also features a comment submission form.

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