Friday, August 23, 2013

School Districts Evaluated Using New Rating System

The Grain Valley School District fared well when it recently received feedback from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education using a new rating system called MSIP5.  The district landed well within the "Accredited" range, with an overall score of 83.9%.
Schools can earn higher marks on MSIP5 in two major ways.  First, when the percentage of students achieving at the advanced or proficient levels reaches target levels for the year 2020, the school and/or district will receive the most student achievement points possible.  The second method allows schools and districts to earn points for increasing the level of student performance by showing significant improvement over previous years.
Presently, Grain Valley scores in Science are already at the "2020 Target" level.  English Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies, are not yet at the 2020 Target.  The district performance in these areas did not increase enough overall to earn the district the extra points on the new rating system. "Not getting additional points for improvement in 2013 kept us from getting a higher mark overall," reports Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roy Moss.
"We expect to be rated among the top of the list on Missouri's new rating system, just as we had on the previous system," reports Dr. Moss. In addition to a history of perfect scores on the previous rating system, MSIP4, the Grain Valley School District has been noted in 2013 by Newsweek as one of America's Best High Schools, and as a 2013 Top Area School District by Ingram's.

All seven schools in the district scored higher than the overall district rating of 83.9%.  In fact, three of Grain Valley's schools scored 97% or higher.  Dr. Brad Welle, Assistant Superintendent for Academic and Student Services explains, "Our schools each scored well for different reasons, some for reaching the 2020 achievement targets and others for growth.  When the numbers are combined for the district score, we did not earn all points possible for enough categories to score in the mid-nineties or better.  It is disappointing that the new system does not better reward a district for its high-performing schools."
Strengths Identified in The New Rating System For Grain Valley Schools Include:
  • High school Advanced Placement and dual credit - 10 out of 10 possible
  • Graduation rate - 30 out of 30 possible
  • High school student attendance - among the top 10 percent in the state
  • Elementary schools' attendance - 10 of 10 possible at all four schools
  • Five Grain Valley schools are performing at the target for the year 2020 in at least one subject area (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies)
  • The district is already performing at the target for the year 2020 in Science
What Grain Valley Schools Can Do to Improve Future Ratings:
  • Raise student achievement scores in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Social Studies to 2020 Targets
  • Increase the percentage of graduates enrolling in two- and four-year degree programs, military, or trade-related careers
The MSIP5 ratings are based on state assessments that will change after the present school year.  In the spring of 2015, students in Missouri will take new tests that are aligned to new Common Core State Standards.  "With new state assessments coming our way, teachers are transitioning to the new Common Core State Standards,"  reports Dr. Moss.  The Common Core State Standards are the result of an initiative by state governors across the country.  Missouri is among more than 40 states who have adopted these new standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.  

Overall, the district administration has a positive outlook for the new standards.  "In education, standards change every few years.  With each change our teachers make adjustments and we end up more effective than before.  I have every confidence in our district to score as a top district on this new measure," reports Dr. Moss.  He asks for patience with this transition.