CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator
573-751-3469

Vol. 45, No. 78

Sept. 16, 2011

Final School Performance Reports Released
Commissioner says, “It Is Time to Raise the Bar.”

State education officials today released final 2011 Annual Performance Reports for all public schools. The APR serves as the report card to the public on how well school districts and charter schools are meeting state standards for academic performance.

“Overall, we are pleased with the large number of districts that are excelling under the state’s current accountability system,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. “However, we still have a long way to go.

"Missouri schools are making progress in core academic areas, but far too many students are not learning in the classroom what they need to know for success beyond high school," she said. "We must set our standards higher."

Over the past six years, most school districts across the state have increasingly performed well in meeting the state’s 14 performance standards, which include MAP and ACT scores, attendance and graduation rates, college placement indicators and other student achievement measures. The accountability standards for public schools were last revised in 2006. This year, three out of every five school districts across the state met every standard. Another one out of five met all but one.

Based on the final APR scores, a total of 329 school districts out of 521 qualified for the state’s annual “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. Districts also must meet all academic standards tied to 2010-11 Missouri Assessment Program results.

For the first time, the Department also recognized three public charter schools with distinction honors this year based on the same performance criteria.

“This level of achievement confirms that the majority of our schools are ready for higher expectations as the state sets its sights on being among the Top 10 of all states in academic performance by the year 2020,” Nicastro said. “It is time to raise the bar.”

The APR provides a five-year progress report and enables state and local school officials to monitor trends and ensure schools are serving their students’ educational needs.  In addition to identifying schools that are performing well, the APR also reveals which schools are lagging behind and need extra assistance to improve instruction.

Nicastro credits the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) for helping schools succeed. Over the past five years, the number of districts with sub-par performance has been reduced by more than half.

The APR has been part of the state’s school improvement program, which began in 1990. The academic performance results are used by the State Board of Education in accreditation determinations.

Each school district has its accreditation status formally reviewed about every five years by the State Board, but reclassification can be considered sooner if student performance trends signal formal action is merited.

Eighteen districts, some high-performing and others not, are scheduled for review at the State Board’s regular meeting next week (Sept. 20) where Department staff will present six years of student performance data and make classification recommendations. No accreditation determinations can occur without formal action by the State Board.

The final APR reports, as well as the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports, are available on the Department’s data portal.