/State Board of Education tweaks how high schools are graded

State Board of Education tweaks how high schools are graded

Mississippi News Nonprofit Mississippi high schools will be given a different grade this year. The State Board of Education approved Thursday a change in the baseline score that is used to calculate high school accountability ratings. Officials said this will be a benefit to everyone. Every year, public schools districts and their respective schools are awarded A-F ratings. This rating is based on a complicated model that evaluates growth, state testing performance, as well as other factors. The statewide results of the test showed that more students meet grade-level expectations. However, accountability scores were not calculated for schools in the 12th grade. The state board asked the Commission on School Accreditation to reconsider Wednesday’s idea of changing the cut scores. The state board approved the change, and they did the same on Thursday. Alan Burrow, director of school performance and district administration, told the commission Wednesday that there would be no negative effect on resetting the cuts. It would be better for everyone if it was left as it is. Preliminary accountability data showed that the number A schools would fall from 50 to seven in the 2016-17 school years to 7, while the number F schools would rise from 4 to 60. The new baseline will result in 24 schools being A’s and 33 being F’s. This compares to the 50 A’s last school year and the 4 F’s. The reset has resulted in a decrease in A schools. This is partly due to the fact that the state board changed baseline scores last August. However, it included a “hold harmless” provision that allowed districts the option of keeping the highest score. Paula Vanderford, Chief of Accountability, explained that this was an unintended consequence of three state tests being administered over a three year period. The Mississippi Curriculum test was taken in 2013-14 by students. However, the state switched to PARCC in 2014-15. Since 2015-16, the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program has been used. Grades for high schools are based on a 1000-point scale. A large percentage of those points comes from growth. The 2016-17 data used a PARCC-to-MAAP comparison to calculate growth, while 2017-18 data used an MAAP-to MAAP comparison. Vanderford explained Wednesday that while we don’t want the baseline to be reset over and again, there are unintended implications to having three assessments over three year and trying to measure growth across multiple assessment. Next month, the state department of education will release the final accountability scores. Although the board made changes to the high school cut scores, it will not affect the district-wide model._x000D