The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released results of the 2019 Annual Performance Report for districts on Thursday, October 17th, and Grain Valley once again received high marks.
The Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) was established in 1990 and is finishing its fifth cycle. The MSIP 5 Performance Standards are designed to recognize the achievement and growth of all Missouri students and are used as the basis of the Annual Performance Report (APR).
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education cites that one of the purposes of the APR is to meaningfully distinguish the performance of school buildings and school systems. For public school districts, the APR is important when considering accreditation. For charter schools, the APR is part of the sponsor’s renewal decisions. Until 2019, the MSIP 5 APR has used measures of student performance and a points system to distinguish the performance of school districts and charter schools.
The points system provides a concise way to summarize the performance of public schools in the form of percentage of points earned. The format of the 2019 APR is both quite familiar and quite different from prior years.
The APR continues to evaluate school performance against the performance standards previously used. Additionally, the calculations are the same as in the past. However, this year’s APR release will display both statistical and visual representations of how districts and charter schools perform rather than point totals and percentages.
Each school district in Missouri has received feedback on five standards:
Academic Achievement (includes Growth, Status, and Progress measures in aggregate summary);
Subgroup Achievement (includes those subgroups that have historically performed below the state total – this is a single count of students from the following subgroups: Black, Hispanic, low income students, students with disabilities, and English learners);
College and Career Readiness (college and career assessment data, college credit attained, and post-secondary placement);
Attendance (attendance targets use the individual student’s proportional attendance rate and set the expectation that 90 percent of the students are in attendance 90 percent of the time);
Graduation Rate (the four-, five-, six-, and seven-year graduation rates are calculated based on graduation year cohorts, and the better of the four is used for APR determination. The 2019 APR includes three years of data for each of the rates).
Statistical and visual representations received by school districts across the five standards are provided in three key areas. They are growth (are students making gains over time), status (what levels are students achieving now), and progress (is the school, district, or charter making improvement over prior years). The idea being that feedback provided and reported does not stand on status alone.
Status expectations are rated across four levels with the metrics reported to school districts by DESE. They are in ascending order “Floor, Approaching, On Track, and Target.”
The Grain Valley School District received “On Track” status results for academic achievement and subgroup achievement in both English Language Arts and Mathematics for their 2019 APR report. Furthermore, the district received the result of “Exceeding” (the highest level possible) for Growth within Academic Achievement for English Language Arts.
The school district’s APR results were rounded out with receiving the status result of “Target” (the highest level possible) for all three College and Career Readiness Subgroups, Attendance, and Graduation Rate.
Dr. Marc Snow, Superintendent of the Grain Valley School District shared his overall thoughts on the school district’s performance.
“We are pleased again this year with the performance of our schools and district on Missouri's Annual Performance Report (APR) measures. The APR reflects many practical predictors of student success and our schools again received high marks from the state in student academic performance, attendance, and measures of success after high school (labeled College and Career Readiness),” Snow said.
Snow continued with how the district’s ongoing efforts are reflected in the results.
“Our schools offer a well-rounded learning experience for students that includes an emphasis on the arts, athletics, and other extra-curricular activities, in addition to academic success. The state APR does not assess everything we value in Grain Valley, and we would not expect it to, but our students' performance in core academic subjects is very important to us and is reflected in the state report.
Our students' performance in English/Language Arts was exceptional again in 2019. Subgroup achievement in English/Language Arts for students experiencing at-risk factors also met learning expectations in 2019. Mathematics achievement was solid again and, along with English/Language Arts, out-performed state averages. Although also assessed on Science in 2019, only individual student results in Science are available and are not yet included in the APR as these assessments are new.
The attention our teachers and school administrators place on success after high school are again reflected in the state's feedback. The 2019 report shows 93.6% of our high school graduates are employed, in the military, or seeking further education six months after graduation. The scores also reflect high marks for the emphasis placed on student attendance, participation in rigorous advanced placement courses, and in developing the skills needed for success after high school.”
School districts across Missouri are encouraged by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to examine their APR and assessment data in looking for opportunities for improvement. Snow remarked on how the Grain Valley School District is already involved in that process.
“We will use the results of the APR to find ways to improve in the areas measured. We have curriculum work underway at this time and these teams of teachers will use the performance data from last spring to influence what and how we teach core subjects,” Snow said.
“The individual needs of students extend well beyond state assessments. Consistently achieving results like our teachers and schools produce requires the full attention of a community of adults to the needs of our young people and to the personal challenges they face. We believe that when our students feel safe, challenged, and cared for, their attendance improves, and their full learning potential can be realized. Ongoing improvement is needed in our ability to identify the individual needs of each student and to respond accordingly. Continued growth in meeting the needs of the whole child is expected to translate in continued high academic achievement in state and other measures.”
Snow also emphasized there is more to educating a child than just assessments and data.
“We feel blessed to have supportive partnerships with our families and community to guide the young people in our schools trying to navigate their way into adulthood. As has been mentioned, no state report can tell the whole story, but it can reveal the general health and strength of a school district. The 2019 APR affirms for us that the state of our school district is strong.”