DESE Releases Annual Performance Reports
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By Mike Scott
NEMOnews Media Group
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released the statewide Annual Performance Reports (APRs) for the 2021- 22 school year. APRs demonstrate the progress local education agencies (LEAs) and their individual buildings are making toward meeting the Standards and Indicators in the sixth version of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 6).
MSIP is the state’s system for reviewing and accrediting/ classifying LEAs. It outlines expectations for school practices and student outcomes, with the goal of each student graduating ready for success in college, career, and life.
Key changes in MSIP 6 include:
· Differentiating the performance of public schools and LEAs along a continuum
· Providing accessible and actionable information about schools and LEAs
· Empowering local boards of education to improve and innovate by adding a Continuous Improvement component
· Emphasizing the importance of academic performance by holding public schools equally accountable for status and growth
· Focusing on the preparation and well-being of each student at all levels
“MSIP 6 is designed to distinguish the performance of schools and LEAs in meaningful ways to help identify areas in need of support and recognize models of excellence,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “For the release of this pilot year data, we encourage stakeholders, including community partners and families, to focus less on the APR score and more on the underlying data to learn how they may better support student learning.”
Because MSIP 6 is a new system with different scoring, it is inaccurate to compare an LEA’s 2022 APR score to previous years. The accreditation/ classification of LEAs under MSIP 6 will begin in the 2023-24 school year.
For a local perspective, Clark County R-1 Superintendent Dr. Ritchie Kracht was interviewed.
“This is a high-stakes test for school, and it means nothing for the kids,” Kracht said. “A lot depends on how much effort the kids put forth. It’s also a snapshot of one test on one day.”
Kracht reiterated that the these test results cannot be compared to previous years, because the test is completely different.
“They changed the system because too many schools were above 90% APR,” Kracht said.
Kracht also noted that the DESE labels are somewhat misleading.
“It’s not what it sound like. Basic is performing at grade level. Proficient are going to be your A and B students, and Advanced are probably your top five percent of students.”
Another important factor in the results is that many students require a special accommodation on their regular tests, such as someone reading the questions to them, or having only two or three choices on a multiple choice question. For this test, no special accommodations are allowed to be provided to students.
The CCR-1 District has about 20 percent Special Education students, according to Kracht.
Yet another factor in calculating the APR percentage, shown at the bottom of the chart on page 1, is that 50% is based on results, and 50% is based on improvement from the previous year. A school that had excellent results one year, and the same excellent results the following would not show growth, and therefore their APR number would drop.
“Nobody is surprised by the results,” Kracht said. “Students missed a lot of classtime over the past couple years. A big challenge we have now is attendance. We didn’t have that before COVID.”
“What this does show is the impact our teachers are having in the classroom. I don’t think there is any replacement for having kids in the classroom. Most kids learn better in the classroom.”
Moving forward, one of the things the district is doing is to align the Language Arts curriculum in grades Pre-K through 8th grade. Both Black Hawk and Running Fox will use the same teaching materials.
“That should get everyone to Middle School at the same level,” Kracht said.
Editor’s note: This story uses a DESE press release at the beginning.