2016 school ratings have been released. You can see here how your school and district fared.
Teachers and students are due a hearty congratulations. They have managed to stay focused and yield impressive academic improvement on both state and national measures, especially among our scholars with the most challenges. And they did it while weathering an accountability hurricane, with three different tests in three years; a new set of standards; a shift to computer-based, online assessments; countless rule changes and clarifications; and woefully inadequate resources. Commenting on this year’s state assessment results, State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright noted that academic growth occurred across all student groups statewide and that there was tremendous growth in the academic performance of the lowest achieving 25% of students. Be sure to thank a teacher today!
Despite increased achievement, this year a number of districts and schools are labeled F, due to re-set cut scores that pushed the bar higher. Statewide, the ratings break out as follows:
14 A districts 88 A schools
39 B districts 239 B schools
36 C districts 223 C schools
35 D districts 210 D schools
19 F districts 122 F schools
This is the first set of ratings since 2013 for which no waiver was given and the first to “count” under the new accountability model. The old model emphasized proficiency and rewarded schools and districts with many students who scored in the proficient or advanced categories on state tests. The new model emphasizes academic growth and rewards schools that move students forward in achievement, even when they have not yet met the “proficient” benchmark. This shift in emphasis moved some schools with relatively low proficiency rates into the A and B categories due to impressive academic improvement. On the flip side, some schools with significantly higher proficiency rates received lower ratings, a scenario that can occur in schools with many students who were already scoring “advanced,” maxing out at the highest level.
Graduation rate, ACT scores, and advanced and dual credit courses also play a role in school accountability. Click here to learn how the new model works and here to see a graphic explaining how academic growth affects school ratings.
Next year’s test results will give us a more accurate picture of how schools are performing. This year an attempt was made to determine academic growth (improvement from one year to the next) by comparing scores on entirely different tests (PARCC in 2015 and MAP in 2016) – a stretch at best, especially since academic growth has such a huge impact on school ratings.
Parents, you can help your child by volunteering in your schools and by making sure that your student arrives at school prepared for the day: well rested, with homework done, ready to learn! The Mississippi Department of Education has prepared some great resources to help you boost your student’s academic performance; find those here. I will keep you posted on policy and legislative developments that affect your child’s education so that you can weigh in on issues that matter most to you. Together, we’ve got this!