
Appendix B  Technical Notes Technical Notes: Standard Conventions used in the 199899 ABCs Analyses 98% Rule. K8 schools must test at least 98% of eligible students. Eligible students are those who are not exempted from an EndofGrade test according to the rules and procedures governing the testing program. A composite percentage of eligibles tested is computed by combining information from reading and mathematics across all grades in a school. The final composite must be greater than or equal to 98, when rounded to the nearest whole number. Schools identified as having violated the 98% rule are asked to justify their rate. The explanations are reviewed by DPI, and either accepted or rejected. If rejected, the school is assigned a 98R status, which means the school is in violation of the rule and ineligible to receive incentives or recognition. A school in violation for two consecutive years may be identified as lowperforming by the State Board of Education.
95% Rule. High schools must test at least 95% of the students in membership in grade 10 and enrolled in courses for which there are EndofCourse (EOC) tests. A composite percentage of students is computed by combining information from grade 10 membership and enrollment in EOC courses. The composite must be greater than or equal to 95, when rounded to the nearest whole number. Schools in violation are asked to justify their rate. The explanations are reviewed by DPI; and accepted or rejected. If rejected, the school is assigned a 95R status, which means the school is in violation of the rule and ineligible to receive incentives or recognition. A school in violation for two consecutive years may be identified as lowperforming by the State Board of Education.
Algebra I Scores in the Performance Composite. Algebra I scores for current ninth graders who took Algebra I prior to their ninth grade year are included in the performance composite for the high school where they are currently enrolled. Algebra I scores of students in the middle school grades (6, 7, or 8) during the current school year are included in the K8 performance composite of the middle school where they are currently enrolled. Algebra I scores of students currently enrolled in grade 10 in a senior high school (Grades 1012) who took Algebra I while in grades 7, 8, or 9 are included in the performance composite of the senior high school.
Confidence Interval Applied to the Performance Composite in LowPerforming Schools. The performance composite is the percent (proportion) of students in a school who score at or above grade level (i.e., in Achievement Levels III or IV) on endofgrade and/or endofcourse tests. The performance composite is computed by adding all scores at or above Achievement Level III on each of the tests, and then dividing the sum by the total number of valid scores on the tests. The result is one of the factors used in determining lowperforming school status. If a school does not make expected growth/gain and less than half its students are performing at or above grade level, the school is lowperforming.
The confidence interval is a way of taking into account the statistical fluctuations that occur from year to year in small schools or schools with highly variable scores. The confidence interval itself will be narrow or wide depending on the size of the school and the variation in the scores that make up the performance composite. In general, the confidence band is narrower when the number of students is larger, or the scores are more homogeneous; conversely, the confidence band is wider when the number of students is smaller, or the scores are less homogeneous.
This means it is possible that a potentially lowperforming school has a performance composite that is considerably below 50% but that school is not considered lowperforming because the confidence interval for that school is wide (i.e., there is less confidence in the value of the performance composite). This situation would likely be true for a school that has few students or has wide variation in test scores. Conversely, it is possible that a school has a performance composite that is fairly close to 50% and is considered lowperforming because the confidence interval for that school is very narrow (i.e., there is high confidence in the performance composite). This situation would likely be true for a school that has a large number of students or students all have about the same test score.
As long as the value, 50, lies within or on the boundary of the confidence interval for an observed performance composite, then the performance composite is not significantly less than 50 and hence the school is not classified as lowperforming.
Excessive Exemptions. Another testing requirement of schools in the ABCs is that they must not have excessive exemptions. Student exemptions from testing must be consistent with federal and state guidelines for students with disabilities and students appropriately identified as Limited English Proficient (see DPI publications, Testing Modifications and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities; and Guidelines for Testing Students with Limited English Proficiency). Exemptions are determined at the school on a case by case basis and they must be documented in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). A composite index for exemptions is computed for every school; when this index is greater than the state average exemption rate plus two standard deviations (determined from the distribution of school exemption rates) from the baseline year (199697), they are considered excessive.
To compute the exemption rate in a K8 school, information from reading and mathematics EOG (and EOC information if appropriate) across all grades in a school is combined in a composite index. For high schools, EOC data and North Carolina High School Comprehensive Test (NCHSCT) information is combined to form a composite index.
Schools identified as having excessive exemptions are asked to justify their exemption rate; explanations are reviewed by DPI, and accepted or rejected. If rejected, the school is assigned an EE status, and cannot receive incentives or recognition. A school that has excessive exemptions for two consecutive years may be identified as lowperforming by the State Board of Education. Parameters and Other Constants Used in the ABCs Growth Model for 199899 Reading
Mathematics
Writing
"" indicates that these are not applicable to the computation of the writing growth component Constants Used in the ABCs Gain Model for High Schools



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