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MO education department releases Annual Performance Report; leaves some districts with questions

STOCK Kansas City Public Schools KCPS 3
Posted at 7:23 AM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 16:43:09-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released its Annual Performance Report Thursday morning, though it may have left school districts with more questions than answers.

The report is used to measure improvements based on several factors, including Missouri Assessment Program scores, for every public school and district in Missouri.

Accreditation, a status officially given by a vote of the Missouri State Board of Education, is based in part on APR scores and recommendations from DESE officials.

The APR was previously based on a points and percentages system, which changed for the 2019 report.

Now, the data from DESE comes in a color-coded spreadsheet denoting how well each district scored with different levels of achievement.

The categories include:

  • Floor
  • Approaching
  • On Track
  • Target
  • Exceeding

Officials from the Hickman Mills C-1 School District said they continue “to see growth in academic achievement,” and “are committed to building on that growth while focusing on opportunities for more student success.”

Last year, the district scored 77 percent on the APR, which is within full accreditation range. To be fully accredited, a district must earn between 70 percent and 100 percent for two consecutive years.

The news release from Hickman Mills said Superintendent Yolanda Cargile “is requesting that DESE calculate the district’s points and percentages to to better gauge the district’s progress.”

With no way to know when that information may be released, “HMC-1 staff will continue to focus on academic achievement in all areas,” the district said.

Last year, Kansas City Public Schools also scored in full accreditation range with 89.2 percent, but like Hickman Mills, it needs to hit the range again with the 2019 results to be fully accredited.

In a news release, KCPS said it was waiting on the final results in science to learn if the district met the state standard for full accreditation. The district said it saw "impressive progress" in English and math. Results in social studies were not available this year because it was a new exam and still being tested by state education officials.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell said full accreditation would show progress but was not the ultimate goal.

"KCPS needs to become a world-class public education system that produces graduates who are prepared to succeed in the modern global economy, achieve their dreams and contribute to their communities,” Bedell said in the release. “We’ve got a lot of hard work to do to get there.”

Bedell told 41 Action News that he has worked in two other states that went through a similar process in changing how assessments are conducted.

“You generally will have an implementation dip that occurs,” Bedell said.

Once educators begin to align curriculum to the state standards, “some level of increase” will be seen, according to Bedell.

KCPS, he said, has not “regressed to the extent that the entire state average has.” That lets the public know that the district’s system “is actually working,” according to Bedell.

“We aren’t where we need to be in terms of being at the state average in terms of our performances,” Bedell said, “but each year we’ve been able to close gaps, which is something that’s important for the board. I think it’s important for the community.”

The Independence School District tweeted early Thursday morning about the results, saying the district “once again showed significant growth,” and “scored in the exceeding category in all areas of Academic Achievement. Congratulations students, staff and families!”

The state did release a 67-page-long "Comprehensive Guide" on the new report format.