Grading No Child tutors
The grades aren’t even out yet. But some in the tutoring industry are anxious about a new Florida law that requires the state to rate the private tutoring companies that are offering their services through No Child Left Behind.
The law, based on SB 1414, requires the Department of Education to issue A-F grades based on standardized test scores. Some in the industry say that’s not right, given what they say is difficulty in accurately teasing out a tutor’s contribution. “We remain skeptical that the data system is adequate to support this type of high stakes evaluation,” Steve Pines, executive director of the Education Industry Association, told The Gradebook.
DOE officials say they’re still working on a formual to calculate the grades, which are due by March 1 (they’ll reflect providers' effectiveness last year). But the law doesn’t seem to offer much wiggle room: It says the DOE shall grade based on “a combination of student learning gains and student proficiency levels,” using the FCAT or DOE-approved norm-referenced tests.
The law doesn’t spell out penalties. And DOE says it hasn’t figured that out yet, either. But No Child requires states to withdraw approval for providers who fail to help students two years in a row.
For more on this story, see Sunday’s St. Petersburg Times. For more background on No Child tutoring, see this Times story from 2005.