The Mississippi Department of Education officially released the 2014-2015 Accountability Results—letter grades for schools and districts—with the Oxford School District (OSD) receiving an “A” rating. OSD is one of 19 school districts in the state to have an “A” rating based on the 2014-2015 student assessments.
The state’s 2014-2015 Accountability Results show the Oxford School District scored 603 out of 900 total points on the 2014-2015 student assessments, making it an “A” school district with the No Child Left Behind waiver in place. However, the district would have received a “C” rating with the state’s new accountability model in place. Mississippi applied for and was granted a waiver for exemption from the No Child Left Behind requirement that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014. No Child Left Behind places penalties on school districts that have students who are not 100 percent proficient in subject areas of state assessments.
“We are committed to preparing all students for success in college, and part of that work includes setting a high bar for academic guidelines and then measuring how students are doing,” said Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey. “The scores released today set a new starting point. The state had to basically hit the reset button on what we expect our students to know and to be able to do. We expect a drop in performance, but as students continue to get used to the higher standards and tests, scores and performance labels will rise.”
State tests have changed and are measuring different things, such as how well students are developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
The 2014-2015 Accountability Results show Oxford school students had a 65.4 percent growth in reading and a 61.4 percent growth in math. The district’s graduation rate, which is 87 percent, is also one of the highest in Mississippi. The accountability results give Oxford schools a breakdown of each school’s accountability rating with and without the waiver:
“While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, when combined with student grades and teacher reports, annual assessments provide important information about student progress,” said Harvey. “Over time, student performance is expected to rise. Our hope is that parents and teachers can use this information to make sure students get the support they need to succeed.”
State education officials say that the score is a good forecast of what is to come with the Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP) accountability numbers, which will be released in October. MAP—state tests or assessments in English language arts and mathematics for students in grades 3-8 and high school—is designed to measure student achievement on the Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards for English language arts and mathematics and to provide valid and reliable results to guide instruction through data-drive instruction. MAP will assess students in grades 3-8 in English language arts and mathematics, Algebra I and English II.
Harvey said the new assessment asks students to demonstrate and apply their knowledge and skills in areas such as critical thinking, analytical writing and problem solving.
“These tests provide meaningful feedback to our parents, teachers and students,” he said. “They let us all know where our students stand on their path to success. The state has raised standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century. The tests will help parents know if a child is on a path to success.”
Harvey added, “At the end of the day, that is our district’s overall goal for our students: for us to provide academic excellence while cultivating 21st-century students who can take on the world as responsible citizens.”
School officials encourage parents and families to take an active role in helping their child make academic strides by being involved in their child’s school. Parent involvement activities include parents interacting with their child in regard to homework and school assignments, as well as attending parent-teacher events at their child’s school.
“Providing a positive and effective public education for our students takes teamwork,” said Harvey. “Parents need to become involved in their child’s education process and growth, because while we help prepare them to become college- and career-ready in school, parents can help do the same in the home.”
Visit www.oxfordsd.org for more information on the Oxford School District.
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