MoSIP, Part I
So, what exactly is the Missouri School Improvement Program (MoSIP) and why does it exist? MoSIP is the state’s accountability system for accrediting Missouri public schools. The responsibility to review and accredit Missouri schools is mandated by state law and by State Board of Education regulation. Therefore, all public schools in the state of Missouri are evaluated subject to the measures outlined in MoSIP.
In order to assess a school’s and/or district’s performance, data is collected across several “Performance Standards.” They are: (1) Academic Achievement, (2) Subgroup Achievement, (3) College and Career Readiness, (4) Attendance Rate and (5) Graduation Rate. The collection of data provides the department with a means to produce an Annual Performance Report (APR) for each school and district. The calculations for each “Performance Standard” do include a set of formulas in an attempt to factor in performance comparisons across three years of data. Based upon these comparisons, a school is assigned “x” number of points toward their APR for each standard. Points are awarded for “status” as well as “progress” shown from one year to the next. Certainly, one acknowledges the significance of a single year’s worth of data, but as one considers the many variables which can impact a particular “graduating class” score… one must recognize the importance of reviewing “trend data” for a school or district.
The End of Course (EOC’s) Assessments for Algebra I, Algebra II, English Language Arts (ELA) II, Biology and Government provide the basis for review of: (1) Academic Achievement and (2) Subgroup Achievement. Virtually every student who completes these specific courses must take the EOC established for the course. The scores earned are factored into the APR calculations for the school and district in the year the EOC is taken. Should a student be unable to take an EOC for any reason, the school and district in question are held accountable for his/her score should he/she remain a student and graduate within the district. There is very little allowance afforded a school not to test students. Therefore, considerable effort is committed to testing all students upon completion of the course and, in those cases, when a student is unable to test… the importance of “tracking” these students and making certain they complete the EOC during a future “assessment window” is significant. As a part of the process, it is imperative for each student to test. The penalty assigned a school’s (and a district’s) APR score is substantial should greater than 5% of the students from a graduating class fail to have taken a particular EOC. (It should be noted: the data suggests motivation and performance levels of those who take an EOC the year or two following having taken the course are negatively impacted.)
There are three separate measures which contribute to the: (3) College and Career Ready Performance standard scores. They are student performance on: a) ACT, SAT, ACT WorkKeys and ASVAB assessments; b) AP, IB, Dual Credit, TSA, PLTW or Early College coursework; and, c) Placement w/in 6 months either in post-secondary education, the military or in occupations directly related to the training received in high school.
“90-90” is the “target” attendance rate in Missouri. “90-90” is a reference to having at least 90 percent of the students attend 90 percent of the time. A common phrase is “Average Daily Attendance, however, for purposes of APR, the key measure is the percentage of students who attend 90 percent or more of the time.
The graduation rate is simply the percent of students who meet the requirements for graduation within a district. This is accomplished by conventional means… a student simply meets the local board guidelines to earn their diploma (in Belton the minimum credit requirement is 26); or, for those 17 years or older and at-risk of dropping out… the requirements of Missouri Options combines select coursework, attendance hours (school and work) and one’s achieving a specific score on the HiSet test.
MoSIP, Part II
Prior to taking a closer look at the BHS School Improvement Plan, an examination of the “BHS Pyramid… ‘Our Why?’” may prove worthwhile.
An overview of Our BHS Pyramid was initially shared during Back to School Night on August 24, 2017. With this visual, we acknowledge the various factors which, we believe, contribute to the success we expect to have with our BHS students. Our mission is… “to graduate college- and career-ready students through engagement in personalized, relevant learning experiences.” Through our School Improvement Plan (SIP), we attempt to strategically address the demands of MoSIP and maintain focus on our mission.
With regard to our (SIP) as it relates to the MoSIP Achievement measures (both school-wide and our sub-group populations), we’ve been intentional about arranging schedules to afford staff (general and special education) with opportunities to collaborate as a part of their planning time. A concentrated effort on alignment and the development of curriculum affords greater opportunity to collect meaningful data through common assessments and, from this data, we are better equipped to determine the most effective means of delivering the material. In addition to curriculum delivery, academic supports have been instituted in an attempt to better attend to students who struggle. Additionally, some tools have been developed to assist BHS staff with our efforts to “track” students and their performance on the various assessments. Furthermore, and across the following Achievement measures… End of Course (EOCs) as well as College and Career (CCR) Assessments, our efforts to reinforce the significance... “the ‘Why’ of these high stakes exams,” to students are ongoing and represent an attempt to increase one’s motivation level to do well on their respective exams.
In addition, considerable attention is given to promote… “Right kid, right test and right time” with regard to the College- and Career-Ready (CCR) assessment package. In other words, data is collected on each student and, based upon his/her profile, the most logical exam (for them) is chosen. The following represent the options available: ACT, ASVAB, and the ACT WorkKeys. Previously, the Compass (a higher ed placement test) was considered among them. However, this instrument has recently been replaced by the Accuplacer. There is a good reason to believe, for purposes of MoSIP, the Accuplacer will be considered a part of the CCR assessment package in the near future.
At BHS, our School Improvement Plan arranges for all Sophomores to take the Pre ACT in the Fall and the ASVAB in the Spring. Juniors take the Practice ACT in the Fall and then, depending upon one’s profile… an instrument is chosen. If the student has taken the ASVAB, the likely choice is between the actual ACT or the ACT WorkKeys. The ACT is a college readiness assessment and when coupled with one’s overall GPA provides a good prediction of college success. On the other hand, the ACT WorkKeys is an instrument which provides the student with an opportunity to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate. For growing numbers of potential employers (including many in Cass County), the instrument serves as a viable screening tool. Across the country, this credential is recognized as an indicator of one who is a solid candidate for employment.
You’ll recall, we outlined much of the BHS School Improvement efforts regarding the MoSIP Attendance measures in the first two issues of the “BHS Why papers.” Consistent with MoSIP, we seek to increase the number of students who achieve greater than 90% attendance. However, with an increased emphasis on BHS students qualifying for the A+ program (issue 3), we have actually stressed 95% attendance. (Note: 95% represents the criteria for the A+ Program.)
Graduation rates… Our BHS School Improvement Plan also addresses graduation rates. Our efforts are designed to foster a mindset whereby “Graduation is to be considered a given.” The bar has been raised from “Graduation” as a target to “Graduation with A+ Program qualifications satisfied” as the expectation of our BHS graduates. However, we do acknowledge there are those for whom school, as a chapter in one’s life, can be a journey filled with considerable challenge. Our BHS School Improvement Plan has taken this into account and has expanded alternatives for these students. (We’ll provide a greater explanation of Alternative Programming in an upcoming issue.)