It’s report card day for public school districts in Missouri.
Parents and community members wanting to know about the achievement of students in their districts on the annual state assessment tests and other factors such as attendance and graduation rates now have access to that information online.
“This is much earlier than we’ve ever released this data before,” Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro said in an interview last week.
By making the performance reports available as the school year is starting rather than in September when classes are already underway, she said, teachers will be able to review student test results to see what they have accomplished and what they still need to learn.
For privacy reasons, individual student scores are not available to the public, but reports for districts — including 16 in the Kansas City metropolitan area — are posted online for all to see.
State education officials use this information in making decisions regarding district accreditation. Most local districts met all 14 performance standards. They must meet at least nine to retain accreditation and six for provisional accreditation. Four districts — Grandview, Independence, North Kansas City and Raytown — fell a point or two short of a perfect score. Kansas City Public Schools and Hickman Mills continued to struggle.
For those curious about the “Bonus MAP Achievement” that half of the local districts did not meet, this is a score districts receive only if groups of minority or disadvantaged students out-performed majority students statewide. Schools meeting the qualifications for this bonus do not necessarily meet MAP standards, as can be seem in the report for the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools.
Last spring, Missouri received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, so the state no longer has to post Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) reports as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. Rather, the state will send these APR reports to account for academic progress to the federal government.
Another change in district accountability is that this is the last year the current set of accreditation rules — known as Missouri School Improvement Program 4 (MSIP 4) — will be used to calculate APR. Next year, districts will need to meet a new accountability standard — MSIP 5 — which the state thinks will hold districts to even higher standards.
Therefore, struggling districts such as the Kansas City Public Schools and Hickman Mills may face even more challenges in the months ahead.
According to Missouri’s education commissioner, the Kansas City Public Schools’ loss of accreditation is recent, and she didn’t expect to see much in the way of improvement from that district this time around. However, she acknowledged that the results for Hickman Mills do not look good.
“Over the next six weeks, we will be reviewing data and making decisions in September,” Nicastro said.
Last year, when the State Board of Education was reviewing accreditation, they put off making a decision about Hickman Mills until this fall.
To examine details of each local district’s 2012 APR report, click HERE.
And if you’re struggling to interpret these APR reports, DESE has a free publication online that you can download, Understanding Your Annual Performance Report (APR).
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