In 2013, the state of North Carolina started using a value-added measurement scale to help gauge teacher effectiveness and school performance. Developed by SAS which is headquartered in the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, EVAAS collects student data and creates reports that are used to measure teacher and school effectiveness.
EVAAS stands for “Education Value-Added Assessment System.” For teachers, it is supposed to give an indication of how well students are supposed to do in a given year on the tests that are used on evaluations. (Do not let it be lost on anyone that “EVAAS” scores were just released at the end of most schools’ first quarter after half of the block classes have already completed more than half of the curriculum’s work).
EVAAS has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny. It deserves every bit of that scrutiny. Why? Because the algorithms that it uses to come up with its calculations and reports are like a tightly held secret – by a private entity that receives money from DPI.
During the 2017-2018 school year, State Superintendent of Public Schools Mark Johnson released a video to all public school teachers announcing the new revamped state school report card system.
Here is a frame that is closed captioned –
It says, “Recently, I launched the brand-new website for school report cards: schoolreportcards.nc.gov.”
That means it should be controlled by the state, correct?
Put that into your search bar and you get http://www.ncpublicschools.org/src/.
It’s not the actual report card site – just a “Welcome” page. Notice that it has a link to the actual school report card site along with the following text:
North Carolina’s School Report Cards are presented two different ways, designed to meet the needs of all users. An interactive, easy-to-navigate section was redesigned in 2017 and is available here. This citizen-friendly website addresses the need for quick reference on topics that are most important to parents and educators. A more analytic section is intended for those who prefer a more detailed view of the data. The two areas, both designed and hosted by SAS and available to anyone, include printable versions of the North Carolina School Report Card snapshots.
The actual “School Report Card” website has a different domain name.
Once again, it’s SAS.
Then in the final days of April of 2019, Johnson introduced a new website designed for financial transparency.
When one accesses that NC School Finances website, this screen appears:
Look at the web address. Yes, it’s housed at SAS.
Many outlets such as one from WRAL have shown how flawed this “dashboard” is.
So, SAS controls/houses/computes the following:
- EVAAS scores
- School Performance Grades
- Public School Financial Dashboard
Or rather, how teachers are measured, how schools are measured, and how financial data can be manipulated.
It seems rather ominous that three important components of how public education is perceived in NC is controlled by a private entity taking public money but not really sharing how they come to conclusions and data points that guide legislation in Raleigh.
Doesn’t seem right.
Because it’s not.