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State Board of Education approves revised proposal to determine new A-F grades for districts
The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted today to temporarily adjust 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.
On March 17, 2022, the SBE invited public comment on its initial proposal to temporarily adjust the accountability system for 2021-22. After reviewing public feedback, the MDE revised the proposal and presented it on April 12, 2022, to the Commission on School Accreditation (CSA), which approved the revised proposal.
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. Federal law requires all states to assess students annually in English Language Arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and once during high school.
Adjustments are needed for the 2021-22 school year because the cancellation of assessments in spring 2020 resulted in some students lacking scores to calculate growth.
The SBE’s action today will adjust the accountability system for 2021-22 as follows:
Growth will be measured on high school-level assessments from the most recent year students were previously tested. For example, current 10th graders who take Algebra I and English II assessments this year will have their scores compared to their 7th grade assessment in 2018-19 to measure progress.
2021-22 high school end-of-course assessment results will be included, regardless of the student’s grade level. Typically, scores for students in grades 7-9 who take high school level assessments are not included in the current accountability year and are “banked” for accountability until they reach 10th grade.
Any banked scores from previous years that would have been included in the current year’s accountability calculation will be excluded.
Scores for students in grades 7-9 who take high school-level assessments this year will also be banked, in accordance with existing accountability rules.
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. The USED now requires 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.
“Our goal for resuming accountability is to get the most complete and accurate measure of student learning during the pandemic,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “The temporary adjustments will enable educators, families, communities and policymakers to understand and evaluate how schools and districts have performed since the onset of COVID-19.”
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 for most students between 2020-21 and 2021-22.
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.
The SBE invites public comment on today’s vote to establish the temporary rule to implement the accountability adjustment. For more information on the temporary rule and instructions for submitting comments, visit mdek12.org/PN/APA. The deadline to submit comments is May 17, 2022.
Find all MDE news releases at mdek12.org/news.