CAP report card issues “B” to Farwell, “C” to Clare, Harrison

January 31, 2019

By Pat Maurer

State high schools have been graded and given their report cards for the past year.

The 2018 Michigan Public High School Context and Performance (CAP) Report Card ranking the state’s schools was released by the Mackinac Center of Midland on January 10th.

In the Clare Gladwin Regional Education School District both Farwell and Gladwin earned a “B” grade while Beaverton, Clare and Harrison earned “C” grades.
Midland, Houghton Lake and Roscommon High Schools all earned an “A” grade. Mt. Pleasant earned a “C”; Marion was given a “C” and McBain got a “D” in the CAP report.

The letter grades; A, B, C, D, and F, were based on each schools ranking in the list of 674 schools across the state. The score each school receives is based on an average of 100 points determined through standardized test scores and the economic status based on the number of students eligible for free lunch.

Shari Buccilli, President of the Farwell Board of Education posted on Facebook, “The Bridge report was just released and…. it is some great PR for Farwell High School! The top 10 percent receive an A; the next 20 percent receive a B, and so on [C for the next 40 percent; D for the next 20 percent and F for the lowest ten percent.] Farwell HS received a B and was the only school in Clare County with a B!”

Buccilli continued, “Teachers: your impact with our students in daily issues matter. You set high expectations, have a strong student-teacher relationships, and are relentlessly dedicated to our students’ success. Great job & THANK YOU!”

Farwell School Superintendent Steve Scoville added, “We are really pleased with the high schools performance on that report. It’s one on our growing list – our points of pride for our staff and students.”

Another success story, Marion High School in Osceola County was ranked 13th out of the 18 high schools that increased their score by 50 or more points in the CAP percentile ranking compared to 2012 levels. Marion increased their percentage from 8.94 percent in 2012 to 64.45 percent in the latest report. The percentage means Marion is now higher than 64.45 percent of the 674 schools evaluated across the state, a 55.51 percent increase.

About their “A” grade, Gladwin High School Superintendent Rick Seebeck said, “We are very excited to have gotten such a high ranking. It’s a testament to the hard work of our administrators, teachers and support staff.”

The CAP report evaluates and grades every standard public high school in Michigan each year.

Farwell Schools earned a “B” grade for the 2018 Michigan Public High School Context and Performance (CAP) Report Card. A list of 674 schools were ranked across the state.

Farwell Schools earned a “B” grade for the 2018 Michigan Public High School Context and Performance (CAP) Report Card. A list of 674 schools were ranked across the state.

According to the Mackinac Center, “The 2018 Michigan Public High School Context and Performance Report Card marks the fourth edition in a series of analyses that measure high school performance, starting with the 2012 report and repeating at two-year intervals. This report is a school-level assessment of academic performance based on a four-year average of state standardized tests. Unlike assessments produced by the Michigan Department of Education, students’ socioeconomic status factors significantly into a school’s grade on this report card. The goal of this report card is to provide another helpful dimension to identifying the relative effectiveness of schools so that parents, educators and school leaders can have a more accurate and well-rounded picture of school performance. The Context and Performance Report Card includes a brief explanation of the data and methodology used to rank Michigan high schools. Selected results are also featured, among them the best- and worst-performing high schools and those high schools that have exhibited the greatest improvement or decline in performance over time.”

Each school’s rank and grade is examined through performance on standardized tests while taking into account family income and school location.

The report said, “To capture the socioeconomic differences among Michigan high schools, this study compares the number of enrolled 11th grade students who were eligible for free school lunches through the federal National School Lunch Program in each school. Although researchers commonly use the percentage of students eligible for either a free lunch or a reduced-price lunch as a proxy for socioeconomic status, this report card only employs the percentage of students eligible for a free lunch. This proved to be a better predictor of student academic outcomes. The percentage of students eligible for free lunch is negatively correlated to a school’s average test scores. In other words, the more students eligible for a free lunch, the lower the high school’s average score on standardized tests tend to be.”

Farwell was in the top 30 percent ranking 145th out of 674 Michigan high schools and scored 105.06, topping all of the Clare-Gladwin RESD schools except Gladwin, who ranked 111th.with a score of 106.44.

Clare was next ranking 228th with a score of 102.26; then Harrison, ranked 418th with a score of 97.94 and Beaverton, who ranked 452nd with a score of 97.04.
Superintendent Jim Walter of Clare Public Schools said, ““The scores CPS received are understandable considering the methodology used.  We are very proud of our ELA scores and our recent growth in math scores.  We know our “warts” well, and they show up in rankings designed like these…what the rankings don’t show is the culture in our buildings, the number of opportunities CPS provides for students across a wide spectrum of activities, and an exceptionally committed staff and community.  Those are things I wouldn’t trade for a score.”

In neighboring counties, Marion ranked 239th, although they made the 18 listed with the highest percentile increases from 2012 at 55.51 percent with a score of 101.92 and a “C” grade. McBain was nearer the bottom of the list of school at 572nd with a rank of 572nd and a score of 93.32.

Houghton Lake ranked highest in the area at 33rd in the list of all schools with a score of 109.03 and an “A” grade, followed by Roscommon at 47th with a score of 111.19. Roscommon was also number 24 in the list of the top 25 district-run high schools. Midland ranked 57th with a score of 110.17and Mt. Pleasant High School ranked 337th.with a score of 99.86.

The highest rank in the State for district-run schools was Fordson High School in Dearborn with a 115.91 score placing them at the 97.77 percentile. The lowest score in the state for district-run schools went to the Pioneer Tech High School in Hamilton, with a score of 87.67 and a ranking of 643 on the list.

The Bridge Report said, “A CAP Score below 100 indicates that a high school’s average score was below its predicted level, given student poverty, while a CAP Score above 100 indicates a high school’s average score exceeded its predicted level, given student poverty. The CAP Scores were also used to assign letter grades to each school. The letter grades were based on a standard bell curve distribution, with 10 percent of schools receiving A’s; 20 percent receiving B’s; 40 percent receiving C’s; 20 percent receiving D’s; and 10 percent receiving F’s. These grades and CAP Scores are relative; they are not based on an absolute standard of academic performance. Instead, they indicate how each high school compares to other high schools on multiple years of standardized tests given the school’s respective student population.”

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. They posted, “The 2018 Michigan Public High School Context and Performance Report Card is the fourth edition in a series of analyses designed to measure high school performance. The first report was published in 2012 and was followed by analyses in 2014 and 2016. This report is a school-level assessment of academic performance based on a four-year average of state standardized tests. This report card is unique in that it takes into consideration the socioeconomic status of students when assessing an individual school’s performance.”

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