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MDE releases letter grades for schools and districts across the state

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The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has released letter grades for schools and districts based on Mississippi’s A-F accountability system that evaluates how schools and districts performed in the 2016-17 school year.

District grades for 2016-17 include 15 “A” districts, 43 “B” districts, 43 “C” districts, 36 “D” districts and 9 “F” districts.

The Mississippi State Board of Education approved the 2016-17 accountability results during its Oct. 19 board meeting.

“These results reflect the progress and achievements students have made on state assessments, the ACT, advanced courses and the state’s rising graduation rate,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Teachers, principals and district leaders have been diligent in their work to help students meet higher academic standards and achieve better outcomes.”

The 2016-17 accountability grades are based, in part, on how well students perform and progress from year to year on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) tests for English language arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

The tests are aligned to the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards and are administered annually to students in grades 3-8 and in high school.

The MDE said that with the exception of 4th grade ELA and English II, student achievement increased in both ELA and Mathematics in all grades from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

The accountability system also factors in how well students perform on science tests in grades five and eight.

Accountability grades for high schools and districts include the four-year graduation rate, student performance on Biology, U.S. History and ACT tests, and student participation and performance in advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement and dual credit/dual enrollment courses.

The accountability system places an emphasis on the progress students make in ELA and Mathematics from year to year, particularly the lowest performing 25 percent of students.

The 2016-17 accountability data was used to set a new baseline to determine the thresholds for earning each letter grade.

Back in August, the Mississippi State Board of Education set a new baseline to correct artificially high growth rates included in the 2015-16 grades.

For the 2016-17 accountability grades, districts and schools have been awarded the highest grade they were able to achieve based on current thresholds or the new baseline for 2017-18.

The highest grade is the official grade, though both possible grades have been published for transparency.

“We expect to see continued growth in all of the indicators we measure as teachers continue to challenge and support their students,” said Wright.  “Our students have demonstrated, once again, that there is no limit to what they can achieve.”

Mississippi State Board of Education Chair Rosemary Aultman said accountability grades provide valuable information to parents and communities about how well schools are serving students and preparing them to be successful in college and the workforce.

“I am proud of the hard work that Mississippi teachers and school leaders do each day on behalf of their students,” said Aultman. “Our schools have raised expectations for what students can accomplish, and students are showing they can meet, and exceed, higher expectations.”

CLICK HERE for the complete 2016-17 accountability results for schools and districts.

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