School district disagrees with Washington Policy Center

The Achievement Index, the data compiled by the state Board of Education and assigned a letter grade by the Washington Policy Center, showed that most Federal Way schools fell somewhere in the C or D range, with a few graded in the A range and two schools ranked in the F range.

Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) director of assessment Dave Davis made a brief presentation to the school board on June 25, responding to what he said was a mostly negative report by the Washington Policy Center and the state Board of Education.

Davis added that the Achievement Index takes "complex data" and puts it into a "simple letter grade" because that's an easily translatable idea for many people.

The Achievement Index takes four indicators and consolidates them into one metric, Davis said. This includes data from Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) and the High School Proficiency Exam (HPSE).

"It's historical in nature, because it's from the 2011-12 school year, so it's somewhat an autopsy after the fact," Davis said. "It's another metric. It's…good data, it's clean data, if you will. It's just another statistic."

For the district itself, the measurements of student success are, in some instances, vastly different than the Washington Policy Center report's measurement of success, citing the district's "ends." Among those "ends" are things like graduation rates, student achievement, parent engagement and so on.

"I'm not sure I see all of that in the Achievement Index, per se, in terms of how you as a school board determine success," Davis noted.

Board member Danny Peterson said he reviewed the data and the conclusions arrived from it, saying he felt he had to disagree with the policy center's findings.

"I looked at their data and how they're determining their grades…and their suggestions for how to improve performance on this scale," he said. "For me, a lot of those solutions, I wasn't in agreement with them. I think the direction we're going as a district is going to pay dividends in the long run. I think any data we can look at and pull some meaningful stuff from is a good thing. Sometimes, with this kind of letter grade system, I scratch my head, wondering what does that really represent and what can I take from it?"

Davis also noted that the district is set to launch a "data warehouse" storage system, that will allow the district to view data in real-time and be more "proactive" instead of "reactive."


Check out the entire list of Washington school ratings below or visit


Public School Achievement Index - by rank


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