Editor's note: This story has been changed to add scores from the Fort Osage School District, which were inadvertantly omitted.
A pair of area school districts garnered perfect scores in the 2018 Missouri Annual Performance Report, and all others finished with a higher rating than 2017 as the state released scores this week.
This is the sixth year the state has employed this measurement system of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 5) for the APR, which includes end-of-course assessment scores in grades 3 through 8 and high school combined with five performance standards: academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness (or high school readiness for elementary schools), attendance rates and graduation rates.
The Blue Springs and Grain Valley district earned all possible 120 points on the report card. Grain Valley had improved from 91.4 to 94.6 percent last year, and its 93.2 mark in 2015 represented a near-10 percent jump from two years earlier.
Blue Springs had been at 99.6 percent the previous two years after 100 percent in 2015 – a half-point short of 140 – and 98.6 percent the year before that.
Independence Schools continued its improvement, from 95 percent in 2017 to 97.5 this go-around – 117 out of a 120 points. The district rated 89.6 percent in 2016, 89.3 in 2015 and 73.2 percent two years before that. Fort Osage rated at 90.9 percent, up from 89.6 in 2017 and 92.1 before that. Lee's Summit climbed for the fifth year in a row, checking in at 99.3 percent, up from 98.2 in 2017, while Oak Grove went from 97.9 to 96.9 percent.
All area districts had a perfect score for graduation rates.
Grain Valley Deputy Superintendent Brad Welle said the district is “pretty excited” about the score, but in a tempered way.
“We thought we had a great thing going before we hit 100 percent,” he said. “We do want the score to reflect the good things that are going on in the district, but we're also focused on things the state assessments don't measure.”
For example, he said, “We've got our kids very engaged in the arts. We want our kids to be well-rounded students.”
If nothing else, the perfect score is one form of affirmation.
“It is an important reflection of what we do, but not the only reflection,” he said.
Annette Seago, Blue Springs' deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the district's perfect score is “a reflection of our staff, students, and community.”
“We are very proud of these efforts and continue to strive to provide our students the greatest opportunity for success,” Seago said in an emailed statement.
Independence Superintendent Dale Herl said he was proud of the staff and students' great work.
“Year after year we continue to increase our score,” he said. “That's the highest in district history.”
Fort Osage Superintendent Jason Snodgrass said that in addition to being proud of the work of staff and teachers, “There's a lot of people beyond the classroom, with students and parents,” who deserve credit.
“Graduation rate continues to be a strength, and that's really, in my mind, a K-through-12 initiative,” Snodgrass said. “That's the rapport and relationships our staff does a tremendous job with.”
The superintendent noted some improvements with specific course assessments and said, “We continue to work on improving, specifically, with our college and career readiness.”
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education noted that 2018 scores included new assessments in English language arts and math. Science also was not reflected in APR calculations, DESE said, as schools gave a field test and did not receive official assessment scores. New science assessments will be administered this year, DESE said.
School districts that rated at 70-100 percent are considered accredited, those rated 50-69 are provisionally accredited and those 49 and below are unaccredited.
The Kansas City School District jumped from 63.9 percent last year and 70 percent two years ago to 82.9 in 2018. Among other districts, Raytown checked in at 85.4 percent (81.4 in 2017), North Kansas City 97.4 (93.9 last year), Liberty 97.8 (97.5), Hickman Mills 77.3 (65.4), Grandview 90.2 (79.3) and Park Hill 95.8 (97.5).
Out of 554 school districts and charter public schools, 61 scored 100 percent, a large jump from 37 in 2017 and 31 the year before that. Ten districts and charter schools received a provisional accreditation rating, and four charter schools and no public school schools fell into the unaccredited rating.