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School district grades released

This week the Mississippi Department of Education released grades for schools and districts based on the state’s new accountability system.
The grades are based on the state’s evaluation of how schools performed after implementing the more rigorous college-and-career-ready standards.
Nineteen school districts received an “A” rating, 43 “B”, 48 “C”, 39 “D” and one received “F.” The statewide graduation rate for 2013-2014 is 74.5 percent, the release stated.
The 2013-2014 school year is considered a transitional year for letter grades because it is the first year schools were expected to implement the new standards. The U.S. Department of Education granted Mississippi a one-year waiver allowing them to keep their letter grade from the 2012-2013 school year. The waiver grades are the official grades, the release states.
Without the waiver, Picayune School District received a “D” rating, Pearl River Central School District a “C” and Poplarville School District received a “C.”
The grades with the waiver are Picayune, “C”, Pearl River Central, “B” and Poplarville “B”.
“Our superintendents have been working diligently over the past three years to implement college-and-career ready standards in their districts,” Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said in a release. “The waiver has enabled them to continue this important work without having to worry about being sanctioned if their test scores dropped because the tests were not aligned to the state’s higher standards.”
According to the release, scores on the 2014 state tests dropped because the tests did not reflect what students were learning.
The MDE lists a number of differences in the new accountability model including:
The new model places priority on student growth, particularly the lowest performing 25 percent of students.
Students meet growth if their scores improve from one proficiency level to the next.
The previous system had a completion index for the twelfth grade score, which gave schools partial credit for GED completers and other types of non-traditional diplomas. These students do not accumulate credit in the new system.
“As we continue to raise the bar for academic standards, our students and schools are striving to meet the higher expectations,” Chairman of the State Board of Education John Kelly said in a release. “Challenging students to do more will help equip them with the knowledge and skills that they need to be successful in college, career and life.”
View the complete 2014 Accountability results for schools and districts at http://reports.mde.k12.ms.us/report/report2014.aspx.