The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) has approved letter grades for schools and districts based on Mississippi’s A-F accountability system that evaluates how schools and districts performed in the 2017-18 school year.
Twenty-nine districts increased their letter grades from the previous school year, and the number of schools earning an ‘A’ rose from 114 in 2016-17 to 181 in 2017-18.
The scores were set to be released in September, but the release was delayed as the board evaluated recent changes to baseline scores for high schools across the state.
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. These 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. Overall, students showed statistically significant gains in both ELA and Mathematics from 2016-17 to 2017-18.
“The 2017-18 accountability grades reflect the hard work that our teachers and school leaders do each day on behalf of their students,” said Dr. Jason Dean, SBE chair. “Mississippi students have achieved unprecedented outcomes in recent years, and these grades prove they can meet, and exceed, high expectations.”
Along with the release of accountability grades, the MDE launched the new Mississippi Succeeds Report Card, an interactive online tool designed to help parents and communities more easily evaluate schools across the state. The tool includes detailed information about each school and district’s academic performance and new indicators of school performance including chronic absenteeism rates and teacher qualifications.
Among the districts that improved their accountability grades for 2017-18 are Leflore County School District and Tunica School District, which are both ‘Districts of Transformation.’ Leflore improved from an F to a C, and Tunica moved up from a D to a C. The District of Transformation designation puts districts under state leadership until they develop a track record of improved student achievement.
“Leflore and Tunica have both demonstrated that every district has the ability to achieve better outcomes for students,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I am proud of the students, teachers, parents and leaders in both of these districts for making a positive difference in children’s lives.”
Statewide, the number of districts earning an A increased from 15 in 2016-17 to 18 2017-18. The number of F districts increased from nine to 21 because of a change to the grading scale that went into effect for 2017-18. Under the current grading scale, 21 districts would have been rated an F in 2016-17.
The statewide district grade comparison from 2016-17 to 2017-18 is as follows:
The SBE voted to delay approval of unofficial grades for four schools and one district that had not received grades in previous years. The SBE will consider grades at its November 8 meeting for the Mississippi School for the Deaf, the Mississippi School for the Blind, the Harrison County Child Development Center, the Pascagoula-Gautier School District’s Exceptional School and the Corinth School District after learning more about the provision in the federal ‘Every Student Succeds Act’ (ESSA) that requires all schools and districts receive grades.
The SBE voted in August to reset the baseline scores for establishing accountability grades for schools that have a 12th grade. The reset addressed the lack of comparability to growth scores in prior years.
Also new to the accountability report this year are grades for districts and schools that include the progress that ‘English Learners’ (EL) made toward achieving proficiency in the English language. The grade that includes EL progress is unofficial this year and is included for informational purposes only. The official 2019 grades will include the EL component.
“Our state goals aim to ensure that all students are proficient and showing growth,” Wright said. “Including an indicator for English learner progress in accountability grades, while federally required, is a natural outgrowth of what we are doing in Mississippi to continue to improve student achievement.”
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, and factors in how well students perform on science tests in grades 5 and 8. 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.
To view the complete 2017-18 accountability results for schools and districts click here – www.mdek12.org/OPR/Reporting/Accountability