Under the unofficial numbers, more districts would fall in the ratings than improve, even though test scores and high school graduation rates improved statewide. That's because last year's ratings were inflated by artificially high test-growth numbers caused by computational difficulties in translating results between different standardized tests. Although the number of A-rated districts would increase and B-rated would fall by only one, the number of F-rated districts would increase from nine to 23 under the unofficial results. Chief Accountability Officer Paula Vanderford said there would have been 21 failing districts last year if schools hadn't been allowed to pick an easier standard from the year before.
Baseline tests for reception pupils in England are not reliable enough to measure progress this year, says a study for the Department for Education. The education department, which is introducing the tests, says it would be "unfair" to use them as a measure. There are three different testing systems that schools can use - but the study says the results are not "sufficiently comparable". A head teachers' union said: "It is hard to avoid saying'we told you so'." Tests for pupils at the beginning of school, known as "baseline tests", were intended as a starting point against which to measure progress through primary school. But they have faced opposition from teachers' union leaders who criticised them as introducing an unnecessary set of tests for young children.
Delaying a summer-born child's entry to primary school has little impact on attainment, research suggests. Children born in England between April and August, whose start in Reception was put back a year, did only marginally better in Year 1 tests, according to a government study. The number of applications to councils for delayed entry has risen sharply. Head teachers' unions want clearer guidance on whether delayed school entry for summer-born children works. Department for Education researchers looked at results achieved in the Phonics Screening Check, taken by pupils at the end of Year 1. Pupils whose school start was delayed a year in 2014 and 2015 scored on average 0.7 marks higher than other summer-born children.
New rules set to expand federal student loan forgiveness for borrowers who believe that they were defrauded by their schools have been put on hold until further notice, according to the Department of Education. The program was designed to ease the burden for students at schools that violated certain laws or defrauded or misled students. For example, a federal court found that the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges engaged in deceptive practices such as advertising programs the schools didn't offer and false job placement rates. About 15,000 forgiveness claims from Corinthian students had been approved as of October 2016. But Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said June 14 that last year's expansion of the forgiveness rules "missed an opportunity to get it right."