We take our responsibilities as educators very seriously. We are accountable to all the members of the Nashville community for driving meaningful academic progress. In order to evaluate our progress, we developed the Academic Performance Framework (APF).
What Is The Academic Performance Framework?
The Academic Performance Framework (APF) was developed in an effort to combine student, teacher, and parent data into a comprehensive school performance measurement. Although it is not possible to measure everything that schools do to help students, the APF is based on a few key indicators, which have been deemed vital by district executive staff, principals, teachers and community members. The APF is used for all of the following:
- To support efforts to raise student achievement
- To support the district’s accountability status
- To offer standardized accountability metrics in order to complement increased autonomy at the school level
- To inform–but not determine–decisions regarding rewards, supports, and resource allocation for schools
- To provide school communities with a transparent set of indicators to understand school performance
How this framework is used will ultimately depend upon how well it correlates with other objective performance measures and with observations and perceptions of educators. Performance data for the previous three school years will be reported annually to help identify trends. In any evaluation or accountability process, the trends over time are more informative than a single data point. The goal is to see schools moving upward on the various measures within the APF.
APF Performance Metrics
We use a set of four main metrics to evaluate the academic performance of our schools. These metrics do not all carry equal weight, but they are all integral to the success or failure of our schools. These metrics are as follows:
Metric 1: Academic Progress (50%)
Academic progress is determined by the growth and long-term improvement of the entire student body. For assessment purposes, our students are generally split into two groups: kindergarten to 8th grade, and 9th grade to 12th grade. The way our APF is used is regulated by Tennessee state laws designed to ensure fairness in the way schools and their students are evaluated.
Metric 2: College Readiness (30%)
These measurements are essentially annual snapshots showing what proportion of our students meet high standards of achievement. For high school students, high standards of achievement are defined by certain scores on standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT, as well as the acquisition of enough school credits to graduate on time. For students younger than 8th grade, college readiness is calculated based on similar benchmarks for standardized tests to indicate progress.
Metric 3: School Culture (15%)
This metric is intended to gauge the norms, expectations, values, beliefs, and traditions of each school. Data is based on surveys that are regularly administered to both students and educators, but the eventual goal is to include data from school parents as a part of this metric as well. We utilize a number of different surveys every year, the composite of which serves as a good litmus test for school culture overall.
Metric 4: Achievement Gap (5%)
Every year, in each Metro school, we take steps to evaluate the difference in achievement levels between students who are considered disadvantaged and those who are not. Our goal is to make sure that every one of our students receives the attention they need in order to achieve academic success, regardless of where they come from. In general, our areas of focus include race, disability, economic status, and level of proficiency in English.
Where This Data Comes From & How We Use It
This data that we use to figure out how each of our schools is doing is taken from a combination of academic indicators, such as scores on standardized tests and progress year to year, as well as district-wide surveys. We use this information to make real-time adjustments to our programs and curriculums as they are needed in order to ensure that every student is experiencing the academic success we know they are capable of. As time passes, we adjust our data collection methodologies in order to receive the most accurate, most helpful results.
The Academic Performance Framework is our go-to when it comes to gathering data, but it’s not where your resources end. You should feel free to see how our schools are performing from external sources. To give you a few examples, the State of Tennessee provides report cards on each public schools, and you can access them here. Additionally, Nashville School Finder is also an extremely helpful resource when researching and examining schools.
You may have noticed that the metrics listed above each carry a percentage weight out of 100. Once all of our data has been complied, each of these percentages will be integrated to come up with an overall composite score for each school. These statistics will be used to make the necessary adjustments, and to determine budgets.
Of course, mathematically, it’s impossible to completely level the playing field. For this reason, we have to take the statistical results yielded by each school on a case-by-case basis. The socio-economy topography of each of our schools’ student bodies is very different, so each school requires a unique action plan in order for continued academic success.