Thursday, July 31, 2014

The top 50 elementary schools in Utah according to the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (50 items)

By Deseret News

July 31, 2013

This is a ranking of the top 50 public elementary schools in Utah — as listed in the Utah 2012-2013 educational directory — according to 2011-2012 Utah Comprehensive Accountability System data.

Under the Utah State Office of Education's UCAS system, ratings are given based on scores from end-of-year Criterion Referenced Tests, which assess student proficiency in math, science and language arts, as well as the direct writing assessment in applicable grades.

Each school is scored on a 600-point scale, with 300 points possible in growth and 300 points possible in achievement. The state average, for elementary schools, is 435/600.

In the area of potential for academic growth, 200 points are possible for all students, and 100 points are possible for below proficient student growth. In achievement, schools are awarded up to 300 points for students who are at or above proficient.

For further clarification or more detailed reports on individual schools, click here.

The first data under the new system was released in Nov. 2012, for the 2011-2012 school year. At the time, John Jesse, the assessment and accountability director for the Utah State Office of Education, told the Deseret News that parents should not take a below- or above-average score as a sign of total success or failure, but that they should look into what is contributing to the scores and what can be done to help them improve.

"Rather than make judgments, let's ask questions," Jesse said. "Is the school doing something to make that (score) happen?"

The list does not include schools that were given N/A rankings or used an alternative high school accountability report. It also does not include special schools and programs or charter schools.

Related: The bottom 50 elementary schools in Utah according to the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System

Related: The top 50 high schools in Utah, according to the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System

Related: The top 50 bottom schools in Utah, according to the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System

Related: 2012: Top 30 elementary schools in Utah by test scores

Related: 2012: Bottom 30 elementary schools in Utah by test scores

1 of 50. Rocky Mountain Elementary (tie)

School district: Alpine
Grades tested: 3-6

State average school performance: 435/600

School performance: 525/600

Growth points: 267/300
All students: 167/200
Below proficient: 100/100

Achievement points: 258/300

Number of teachers: 29
Enrollment: 539
Minority: 11 percent
English learners: 4 percent
Low income: 22 percent
Students with disabilities: 18 percent

>> In this 2007 file photo, Rocky Mountain Elementary students play old schoolyard games such as hopscotch, jacks and marbles.

2 of 50. Dilworth Elementary (tie)

School district: Salt Lake
Grades tested: 3-6

State average school performance: 435/600

School performance: 525/600

Growth points: 250/300
All students: 150/200
Below proficient: 100/100

Achievement points: 275/300

Number of teachers: 34
Enrollment: 579
Minority: 12 percent
English learners: 2 percent
Low income: 22 percent
Students with disabilities: 12 percent

>> PhD. student Roger Sun speaks to Dilworth Elementary School 5th graders about building bridges at the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

3 of 50. Arrowhead Elementary

School district: Washington
Grades tested: 3-5

State average school performance: 435/600

School performance: 526/600

Growth points: 283/300
All students: 183/200
Below proficient: 100/100

Achievement points: 243/300

Number of teachers: 32
Enrollment: 599
Minority: 9 percent
English learners: 2 percent
Low income: 40 percent
Students with disabilities: 11 percent

4 of 50. Monticello Elementary (tie)

School district: San Juan
Grades tested: 3-6

State average school performance: 435/600

School performance: 527/600

Growth points: 275/300
All students: 183/200
Below proficient: 92/100

Achievement points: 252/300

Number of teachers: 17
Enrollment: 314
Minority: 12 percent
English learners: 4 percent
Low income: 47 percent
Students with disabilities: 11 percent

5 of 50. Goshen Elementary (tie)

School district: Nebo
Grades tested: 3-6

State average school performance: 435/600

School performance: 527/600

Growth points: 259/300
All students: 167/200
Below proficient: 92/100

Achievement points: 268/300

Number of teachers: 22
Enrollment: 363
Minority: 18 percent
English learners: 9 percent
Low income: 56 percent
Students with disabilities: 15 percent
1. Seek to understand
Sandy, UT,
Aug. 1, 2013

The UCAS data is unable to be interpreted this way (the "top" elementary schools). You will note that most of the "best" schools (those who are successful at getting the highest number of their kids to pass the state tests each year) are not on this list.

This is because the way the data is used to come up with the scores skews the results toward schools that are not particularly high achieving, but are making progress. This is because the growth score is weighted equally at the lower end of proficiency rates and at the high end. So if a school had 96% of its students passing the language arts test one year (arguably a very high achieving school!), and it "slipped" to 92% the next year, that slide would be weighted so heavily in the growth area that the school would score lower on UCAS than a school where only 80% (or less!) of the students were at mastery (especially if that school had only 77% at mastery the prior year).

So we shouldn't get too invested in these types of ratings. They are virtually meaningless.

2. Orem Parent
Orem, UT,
Aug. 1, 2013

I challenge anybody and everybody to make any kind of sense of this whole UCAS grading system. It is a complete joke and even the people that came up with it can't explain it.

Take Provo school district for example. Provost made it near the top of all elementary schools in Utah. It is a fine school but isn't even near to being the best elementary school in Provo. Just up the road about .5 miles you will find Wasatch elementary which leads the state in many categories yet they aren't on this list of the top 50 schools?

This UCAS system is a mess and I don't know why the media doesn't figure that out instead of posting articles like these that really have no meaning.

The legislature once again created a mess in education by trying to "grade" every school and the USOE made the legislatures decision into an even bigger mess.

Please stop with the insanity already. Our schools are doing a fine job when their hands aren't tied by the legislature. It is enough to drive a person crazy!

3. Orem Parent
Orem, UT,
Aug. 1, 2013

In fact go back and look at the bottom of the article and you will find a link to the top 30 schools based on end of year testing. Very few of the schools with the top test scores make it into the list in this article about the top 50 schools in the state. How is that possible?

The schools with the top test scores are the best in the state. Period.

This whole mumbo jumbo UCAS system that tries to award points for "progress" is a joke. I guess schools at the top can't progress as a school at the bottom so they get docked in the UCAS mess.

What a complete joke!

4. azamatbagatov
Lehi, UT,
Aug. 1, 2013

Schools with the best test scores aren't necessarily the best ones. I know of teachers who will do some pretty sketchy things in order to make sure their test scores are high.

5. Malihini
Northern, UT,
Aug. 1, 2013

Until these rankings take into consideration other schools on a national, or at least regional level, i.e., CO, AZ, NM, NV, CA, WA, OR, WY, ID, etc. then they mean nothing. They are basically saying that these schools are the, "best of the worst" Utah schools, with their low expectations, low level of funding, and lack of national and international perspective, will continue to rank near the bottom. If any of these districts were serious about quality education, they would benchmark against top performing out of state schools. Our kids will be launched into a national, and international competitive workforce, and the UT school system owes it to them to provide a better, more intense preparatory environment.