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In October the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will release the Annual Performance Report (APR) for school districts across the state. This is the third year of APRs released for the Missouri School Improvement Program 5 (MSIP 5). The purpose of this school district report card is to “distinguish performance of schools and districts in valid, accurate and meaningful ways so that districts in need of improvement can receive appropriate support and interventions, and high-performing districts can be recognized as models of excellence.”

The APR shows how well school districts are meeting the performance standards which consists of:

  • TestingMissouri Assessment Program (MAP) and End of Course (EOC) tests
    • Academic Achievement
    • Subgroup Achievement
  • ACT, SAT, COMPASS, ACT WorkKeys, and ASVAB scores
  • Successful completion of advanced courses
  • Career education placement
  • College placement
  • Graduation rates
  • Attendance rates

In Missouri, test scores count toward half of a K-12 school district’s annual performance score. Statewide test results for the 2014-15 school year were based on the Missouri Learning Standards for the first time, and show a majority of Missouri public school students are proficient in English, but less than half meet the threshold in math. Because this was the first time students took grade-level Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests based on the Missouri Learning Standards in those subjects, state education officials say they should not be compared with last year’s scores.

DESE advises school districts to compare test scores with the state and peers in other districts versus comparing scores to past results. “The 2015 grade-level and EOC assessments in English and math set a new baseline with higher expectations for student performance and should not be compared with MAP results from previous years.”

As a result of the transition this year to assessments aligned to the Missouri Learning Standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, and the removal of optional EOC assessments, DESE has decided to change how the APR is calculated. ELA and mathematics within Standard 1 (Academic Achievement) and Standard 2 (Subgroup Achievement) will be “Hold Harmless” which means that the calculation will include either the 2014 or 2015 score, whichever is higher. The same does not apply to science and social studies within Standards 1 and 2, nor to Standards 3, 4, and 5. These standards will be calculated in the same manner as in years past and will include 2015 data. DESE will also exclude optional EOC assessments from prior year data in calculating the 2015 APR.

This school year, children will be tested again on Missouri Learning Standards. But the Missouri legislature is forcing the state to change the tests for 2016 and 2017, which will also produce scores that are hard to compare to earlier test results. Missouri legislators have required DESE to develop its own tests for the 2017-18 school year, which means students will be taking three different tests over the next four years.