FAQ’s & Common Definitions
CHARTER SCHOOL BASICS
A charter school, or public school academy, is an independent public school that is allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for improved student achievement. Charter schools not only have a school board, but also an authorizer that holds them accountable. Charter schools do not have special entrance requirements and do not charge tuition. They are all public schools that are 100% not-for-profit entities.
Charter schools can, like traditional school districts, contract with non-profit and for-profit companies to provide goods and services to the school. Charter schools, unlike traditional districts, can also contract for instructional services.
All charter schools must use state-certified teachers. Special exceptions are granted to schools that are chartered by a state university or community college that may wish to use collegiate staff to teach charter school students.
Charter School Lottery
Charter schools are open to all students. When the number of student applications exceeds the number of available seats, a random selection lottery is held to determine which students will be enrolled. Charter schools enroll a higher proportion of poor, minority students than traditional districts.
Charter schools may not be selective in their admission process and therefore must provide special education services to any student who requires them. About 10 percent of charter school students receive special education services, compared to approximately 13 percent in traditional districts. According to the Michigan Department of Education, when you look at the proportions of students with different disability types for charter schools, cluster districts and traditional public schools, there are no striking differences between the school populations.
Change in Proficiency
The change in percentage points in a schools proficiency level from 2011 to 2012 for a specific test and subject area.
An educational practice that is used to (1) Evaluate student’s knowledge and skills relative to a specific set of academic goals and (2) is designed to inform decisions within the classroom and school-wide in aggregated form. Interim assessments are given at some regular frequency (often 10 weeks or per semester) to measure the learning progress of each student. Interim assessments empower teachers to quickly adapt their teaching to meet the students in the classroom where they are, rather than where they should be.
The Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) is Michigan’s general assessment for students in grades 3 through 9. It is based on Michigan’s grade level content expectations in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.
- Students are assessed in the fall of each year on the prior year’s expectations.
- All students in grades 3 through 8 are assessed in reading and mathematics.
- Grades 4 and 7 are assessed in writing.
- Grades 5 and 8 are assessed in science.
- Grades 6 and 9 are assessed in social studies.
The Michigan Merit Examination (MME) assesses students in grade 11 and eligible students in grade 12 based on Michigan high school standards. It is administered each March, and consists of three components:
- ACT Plus Writing® college entrance examination
- WorkKeys® job skills assessments in reading, mathematics, and “locating information”
- Michigan-developed assessments in mathematics, science, and social studies
Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)
An organization that has developed computer adaptive assessments that test children based on their learning style, allowing teachers to see their students as individuals – each with their own base of knowledge. NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests present students with engaging, age-appropriate content. As a student responds to questions, the test responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty. The result is a rewarding experience for the student, and a wealth of detailed information for teachers, parents and administrators.
COMMON SCHOOL TERMS
The percent of students at the high school who graduate with in 5 years of entering 9th grade.
Often referred to as “RTI”, response to intervention is a method of academic intervention to provide early, systematic assistance to children who are having difficulty learning. RTI seeks to prevent academic failure through early intervention, frequent progress measurement, and increasingly intensive research-based instructional interventions for children who continue to have difficulty.
The percent of students at a school who scored proficient or better on the state MEAP (3-8th grade) or the state MME (11th grade).