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Vol. 44, No. 74

October 8, 2010

2010 Annual Performance Reports Are Now Available

State education officials have released final Annual Performance Reports (APR) for Missouri school districts, providing an update on how districts are meeting state standards for academic performance.

The APR provides a five-year progress report on how each school district is doing as measured by the 14 academic performance standards set by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“The APR is a key element of Missouri’s accountability system for public schools,” Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro said. “It is significant because it enables state and local school officials to monitor trends and ensure their schools are on the right path.”

Unlike the reports issued under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Missouri's reporting is based on multiple measures of performance over time.  This provides a more comprehensive picture of a school district's overall performance, she said.

Some school districts saw large gains in their student achievement scores this year. In the final tally, 30 of the state’s 522 school districts increased the number of performance standards met by as much as three to five standards. Meanwhile, 18 other school districts dropped by as many.

A typical variance for a school district to see annually is one or two performance standards. The total number of school districts achieving a one- or two-point gain this year was 115.  Nearly half the state's school districts held steady from the previous year – including 164 that continued to meet all 14 standards.

“We applaud the school districts that made such significant gains in their APR this year,” Nicastro said. “It is not easy to make that much progress in one year. These determined school districts are showing that higher student achievement is within reach.”

At the same time, achievement progress can be fragile, she said. The APR also helps schools see where they are losing ground so they can work to turn that around.

For the past decade, the APR has been part of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP), which began 20 years ago and is the foundation of the state’s accreditation process for schools. It provides a practical tool for boards of education, school administrators and staff to identify strengths and needs in their school districts and to focus their efforts on improving instruction.

To be fully accredited, a K-12 school district must meet at least nine of the 14 accreditation standards for academic performance.  To be provisionally accredited, schools must meet at least six of which at least one must be a standard measured by the Missouri Assessment Program. A district that meets five or fewer standards may be classified as unaccredited by the State Board of Education when the district comes up for review. A K-8 school district must meet at least five of seven standards to be fully accredited.

‘Distinction in Performance’ Districts
Based on the final APR scores, a total of 360 school districts – 30 more than last year – qualified for the state’s “Distinction in Performance” recognition. This recognition is reserved for K-12 school districts that meet at least 13 out of 14 performance standards and K-8 districts that meet at least six out of seven.

The final reports are now available on the Department’s website at dese.mo.gov.