- Missouri’s approach to developing its accountability system includes a strong emphasis on academic indicators, in which achievement and growth contribute a substantial majority of the weight in the overall system. The state’s academic achievement indicator will provide an incentive for schools to address the instructional needs of students across the continuum of performance.
- In particular, the state’s approach to the 95 percent participation requirement sends a strong signal to schools that all students must be assessed.
- Missouri looked to leverage existing structures, processes, and resources, and the submitted plan describes a tiered system of support for struggling schools that emphasizes evidence-based strategies, leadership capacity, and stakeholder engagement.
- Missouri’s plan lacks detail in a number of areas.
- The plan does not include sufficient data or enough detail to explain the implications of the various choices it has made. The introduction includes an overview of the separate state accountability system which references many promising features. However, it appears that the accountability system the state proposes to fulfill ESSA requirements will be based on a smaller set of indicators than the state’s Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) system, effectively establishing two separate accountability systems for schools to navigate.
- The structure of Missouri’s accountability system pays insufficient attention to subgroup performance. The state’s long-term goals reflect much lower long-term expectations for some groups of students, especially for students with disabilities.
- Additionally, the state’s goals for progress to English language proficiency stand out as particularly low and lack urgency.
- Within the accountability structure itself, several issues contrive to mask underperformance among student subgroups. First, the state will not include subgroups with fewer than 30 students and the state does not provide data or documentation supporting this decision. Second, subgroup performance is not weighted in the calculation of accountability scores, nor does the state include any discrete measures that would illuminate disparities in performance among groups of students.
- The predominant indicators in the plan focus almost entirely on test scores in English language arts and math. This approach fails to take advantage of the opportunity to include additional measures that could provide a more holistic assessment of school performance.
- Beyond challenges with identification, it is unclear what consequences the state will impose for persistent low performance for struggling schools, and the plan offers little evidence that schools will be required to engage in aggressive, transformative strategies.