Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Louisville High Celebrates Performance Grade Improvements - Mixed Results District Wide

The Mississippi Department of Education recently released the 2016-2017 School and District Performance Grades. The full report can be found on the Department’s website at:

Tuesday was a day of celebration at  Louisville High School as the recent  Ms Department of Education Performance Grade for the school went from a C in 2016 to a B grade in 2017. Chants of GBG - Go Be Great could be heard about the school as students were recognized for their advanced and proficiency ratings in required subjects and teachers were honored for their efforts to assist students in the rating improvement. Central Office personnel of the Louisville Municipal School District along  with Board of Trustee members and Mayor Will Hill joined LHS staff and students in the celebration as students were encouraged to continue their progress.
The Louisville Municipal School District as a whole maintained a C rating which indicated no change from 2016. LMSD was one of 43 districts out of 146 statewide to attain a C rating. 43 districts also achieved a B rating and 15 reached an A status. Nine districts across the state received a failing grade in 2017.

There is work yet to be done at individual schools in LMSD. Nanih Waiya continued to maintain its B rating, while Noxapater remained steady with a C rating. 
Eiland Middle School and Louisville Elementary continue to seek improvement as they were not able to improve the D rating that was assigned in 2016. Of additional concern, was a decline in rating of Fair Elementary from a C rating in 2016 to an F rating for 2017.

WWN sought further information related to the low grade for Fair from District officials. Fair consists of only grades one and two yet Mississippi's state accountability testing begins in grade three. That creates a challenge when it comes to rating lower elementary schools that have no tested grades (i.e., K-1 or K-2 schools).
Ratings are assigned for lower elementary schools without a tested grade using the test scores of the students in the next highest tested grade who attended the lower elementary school and are still in the district. In other words, Fair's rating was based upon students who are now in the third and fourth grades.

Proficiency scores for K-1 and K-2 schools come from third-graders in the next school, and academic growth scores come from fourth graders - two or three years after those students have left the lower elementary school. 

District officials noted that academic growth from grade three to grade four in English Language Arts is especially low statewide this year. Academic growth counts for 400 of the total possible 700 points for elementary schools and is not a totally effective measure of the school's performance.

The following charts indicate LMSD ratings and baselines for individual schools. Also included are ratings for other districts in the immediate area as well as some surrounding schools. Below the charts is an excerpt from the MDES website with an explanation of the rating system.

Mississippi School and District Grading System

The A-F grading scale is a way to identify how well students are performing in school, especially on tests and assignments. For school or district grades, it is important to understand that several factors are taken into consideration. Mississippi’s school grading system considers several indicators, including how well students perform on state tests, whether students are showing improvement on those tests from year to year and whether students are graduating within four years.
The system also factors in how well schools are helping their lowest achieving students make progress toward proficiency.

History and Goal:
The Mississippi Legislature passed, in 2013, Sections 37-18-1 through 7 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, which required the state to implement an A-F grading scale for schools. • Section 37-17-6, as amended in 2013, includes the following definitions for Proficiency and Growth: The State Department of Education shall establish five (5) performance categories ("A," "B," "C," "D," and "F") for the accountability system based on the following criteria:

 Student Achievement: the percent of students proficient and advanced on the current state assessments

Individual Student Growth: the percent of students making one (1) year's progress in one (1) year’s time on the state assessment, with an emphasis on the progress of the lowest 25 percent of students in the school or district • The goal is to help parents and the public better understand how well a school is performing and to begin conversations to continually improve education.

What the Grades Represent:  How well students are performing in math and English language arts on state assessments. • Whether students in the school are meeting annual expected growth in math and English language arts. • How well students are performing in U.S. History and Science • Whether high school students are graduating on time. • Whether students are participating in and performing well in accelerated coursework, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, and dual credit college courses. • How students perform on ACT • Whether there are large differences between the achievement levels among students, especially students who receive additional educational services. • Whether a school is performing above expectations.

What the Grades Are Not: They do not measure how well an individual student or teacher is doing. • They do not take into consideration other things the school may be doing well, such as meeting students’ emotional/social or health needs or how well students are performing in other subject areas.