State Board invites public comment on temporary accountability adjustment to determine new A-F grade
The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted today to invite public comment on a temporary adjustment to the statewide accountability system so A-F grades for districts and schools and federally required school improvement designations can be determined for the 2021-22 school year. Mississippi’s A-F accountability system and school improvement identification system consider several indicators, including how well students perform on state tests, students’ growth on tests from year to year and whether students are graduating within four years. The system also measures how well schools are helping their lowest achieving students and English learners make progress toward proficiency. The U.S. Department of Education (USED) granted waivers to states from federal accountability requirements for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years because the pandemic disrupted schooling and state assessments. Mississippi students did not take statewide assessments in spring 2020. The USED is now requiring all states to resume their accountability systems and identification of schools for support and improvement for the 2021-22 school year but is allowing states to request a one-year addendum plan to adjust for missing data. The temporary adjustment SBE is inviting public comment on is needed because the cancellation of assessments in spring 2020 resulted in some students lacking scores to calculate growth. Mississippi resumed statewide testing in the 2020-21 school year, with a 97% participation rate. The high participation rate provided MDE with a valid measure of student performance in 2020-21 and a way to measure student growth between 2020-21 and 2021-22. Federal law requires all states to assess students annually in English Language Arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and once during high school. Though Mississippi will have two consecutive years of data to measure growth at the end of the 2021-22 school year, students who took Algebra I as middle schoolers in 2019-20 are missing a score for their high school mathematics assessment and students that tested in Algebra I last year are missing a score from the 2019-20 school year to measure growth. Therefore, the MDE will propose the following addendum to USED: · If growth cannot be calculated because of a missing prior-year score from the spring of 2020, the prior-year score will be pulled from the 2018-19 school year to calculate growth. For students who took Algebra I in the 8th grade during the 2019-20 school year and did not test in the spring of 2020, the students’ proficiency and growth score in math from the 2018-19 school year will be used in the math component calculations. To address federally required school improvement classifications, the MDE’s addendum request will propose to change the frequency for identifying schools in need of improvement and the timelines and criteria for schools to exit school improvement status. The MDE worked closely with the state’s Accountability Task Force, Technical Advisory Committee and the Center for Assessment to review and analyze assessment data to ensure the addendum proposal is technically sound and presents an accurate picture of the academic performance of Mississippi students. MDE will present further details about its addendum proposal during the Accountability Task Force meeting on March 22, 9 a.m. - noon. The meeting will be livestreamed. Public comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. April 11. For more information on the proposal and instructions for submitting comments, visit mdek12.org/PN/APA Find all MDE news releases at mdek12.org/news.