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NE To Devise System For Scoring Schools

The Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska education officials intend to devise a new way to score public schools so they can get the help they need to improve.

The Education Department will be holding schools accountable for student achievement by combining what are now numerous rankings into just a few classifications, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (http://bit.ly/1dsDpja).

The officials told Nebraska State Board of Education members at a meeting Monday that the new system will assign points to numerous measures, including graduation rate, test scores and improvement. Those points will be added together to come up with one score for each school. The score would be used to place each school and district in one of several classifications, from highest-performing to lowest-performing schools.

Officials don't know yet how the points would be assessed, or how many classifications there would be. A task force will be addressing those specifics.

"It took us a while to get here, but we still have a lot of work to do," said Valorie Foy, the department's director of statewide assessment.

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The idea echoes one contained in a bill introduced in the Legislature, LB438. It details how such a system should work and established steps the state should take to intervene and help the lowest-performing schools. Schools would have to comply with improvement plans to retain accreditation.

The bill advanced out of committee but then stalled. Education Board members and the Legislature's Education Committee have been discussing the bill, and there are plans to move it forward this session, which begins Wednesday.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com