/MDE considers changing accountability ratings for high schools, again

MDE considers changing accountability ratings for high schools, again

Mississippi Department of Education to Change the Scoring System for High Schools – This is a month before the annual school grades will be published. The Commission on School Accreditation recommended that the baseline score used in calculating annual accountability ratings for high school schools be changed earlier this week. The recommendation was rejected by the State Board of Education on Thursday and was resubmitted to the commission for further review. This is due to a discrepancy in the state test results and their translation into accountability ratings. Although 2017-18 results showed that most Mississippi students were improving in test subjects, preliminary accountability scores didn’t reflect this for high school. This prompted education officials and administrators to reconsider the possibility of making the necessary changes. The department assigns grades A-F to every school district and each school using a complicated accountability system. Elementary and middle schools are currently graded using a 700-point scale. This scale takes into account growth, performance, proficiency, and comprehension in science, reading, math, and science for all students. The high schools are graded using a 1,000-point scale. This scale measures proficiency and growth in reading, math and science, U.S. History, graduation rates, college readiness, participation in special courses, such as advanced placement or international baccalaureate. Because the state never had the results of the same test within a two-year span, the department modified the system. The state of Mississippi has changed three tests in the last three years, from the Mississippi Curriculum Test to PARCC and the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP), which led to uneven comparisons of test results. The board modified the accountability system to what it uses today last August because growth scores had been artificially inflated and affected ratings. Officials at the department stated that the change is due to the way high school growth is calculated. Last year, it was calculated using growth from PARCC and MAAP. This year the state used MAAP-to MAAP comparisons. The growth calculations didn’t result in an apples-to apples comparison. According to the department, if high schools were graded using the same base score this year, the number A high schools would fall from 50 to 7 and the number F high schools would jump to 4 to 60. Johnny Franklin, a board member, argued that the state and districts should not change the system. Instead, the state should set a standard for excellence and hold the districts accountable. Franklin stated, “We keep telling our districts that we won’t do this anymore,” and each year we make it clear to them that we don’t intend to. Carey Wright, the State Superintendent, explained that the state’s accountability system was not fixed in stone. Sometimes changes are required to ensure data accuracy and fairness. Paula Vanderford, Chief Accountability Officer, stated that it’s not about how many A’s B’s C’s or even F’s we include in the distribution. “It’s about ensuring the information that feeds into our accountability system…is an accurate representation of how students actually perform in the classroom.” A decision will be made by the state board at 10 a.m. Aug. 23. The commission will then meet next week. The public will receive the final accountability ratings in September._x000D