'Stoplight' would rate schools under waiver request

Next month, the Department of Education (MDE) will submit a waiver request that proposes changes to how adequate yearly progress (AYP) is measured in Michigan.

MDE is already projecting that fewer students will score well on the MEAP and MME tests when new cut scores are in place. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires all students to be proficient on state assessments by 2014--a requirement most schools won't meet according to MDE.

States requesting a waiver have to show their tests align with college-ready standards--thus the change in cut scores. Michigan's is hoping to replace the current AYP standards with a new requirement that 85 percent--instead of 100 percent--of students would be proficient by 2014.

Under the waiver, MDE is proposing a "stoplight" system that rates schools as green, yellow or red. "Green" schools meet all proficiency standards and improvement targets; "yellow" schools only meet improvement targets; and red "red" schools don't meet proficiency or improvement targets.