Mississippi – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of the plan Mississippi submitted to the US ED on September 15, 2017. SREB will update the profile when Mississippi finalizes its plan.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. Mississippi included the following expectation for college- and career-readiness in its plan.

  1. School performance indicator. ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. Mississippi’s indicator of school quality or student success allots points to high schools for students meeting any of the following requirements.
    • College and Career Readiness: ACT subscores of 18 in English or 22 in reading, and 22 in math, or higher
    • Acceleration
      • Participation in Advanced Placement (AP) course and score on AP exam of 3 or higher, participation in International Baccalaureate (IB) course and score on IB exam of 4 or higher, or participation in Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) course and score of “E” or higher on AICE exams
      • Participation in three or more dual enrollment course credit hours with a “C” letter grade or higher
      • Participation in state Board of Education-approved industry certification course with a passing score on certification exam

Read about this expectation below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rates and English language proficiency for English learners.

Mississippi established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2024-25, 70 percent of all students – and each student subgroup – will be proficient on Mississippi’s English language arts and math assessments.
  • By 2024-25, Mississippi will eliminate the proficiency gap between black students and all students entirely.

Graduation rate

  • By 2024-25, 90 percent of students will graduate from high school in four years.
  • By 2024-25, the graduation gap between students with disabilities and all students will be reduced to 20 percent.

English language proficiency

  • By 2024-25, 70 percent of English learners will meet annual growth targets on the state English language proficiency assessment.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Mississippi established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards English proficiency on state assessment – LAS Links

School quality or student success: Student growth of lowest-performing 25 percent of students on state English language arts and math assessments – Mississippi Academic Assessment Program and end-of-course tests 

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – Mississippi Academic Assessment Program

Other academic indicator

  • Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – Mississippi Academic Assessment Program
  • Proficiency on state science assessments – Mississippi Science Test

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – end-of-course tests
  • Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – end-of-course tests
  • Proficiency on state Biology I and U.S. History assessments – end-of-course tests

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

School quality or student success

  • College and Career Readiness: ACT subscores of 18 in English or 22 in reading, and 22 in math, or higher
  • Acceleration
    • Participation in Advanced Placement (AP) course and score on AP exam of 3 or higher, participation in International Baccalaureate (IB) course and score on IB exam of 4 or higher, or participation in Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) course and score of “E” or higher on AICE exams
    • Participation in three or more dual enrollment course credit hours with a “C” letter grade or higher
    • Participation in state Board of Education-approved industry certification course with a passing score on certification exam

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Mississippi established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups and subgroup size.

Framework for differentiating schools in Mississippi

On an annual basis, schools will receive an overall A through F letter grade, based on the sum of the numeric score for each indicator.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Mississippi

Instead of assigning weighted percentages to each indicator, Mississippi assigns the following possible points to each indicator. Additionally, because very few schools in Mississippi meet the minimum subgroup size for English learners, the state does not weight English language proficiency progress and instead assigns schools a plus (+) or minus (-) for performance on this indicator.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Mississippi - Elementary and Middle Grades (300 Other Academic Indicator / 200 Academic Achievement / 200 School Quality or Student Success) and High Schools (300 School Quality or Student Success / 300 Academic Achievement (Student Growth), and Academic Achievement (Science and Social Studies) / 200 Academic Achievement (English Language Arts and Math) / 200 Graduation Rate)

Note. For high schools, the academic achievement (student growth) indicator is allotted 200 points, and the academic achievement (science and social studies) indicator is allotted 100 points.

Student subgroups in Mississippi

  • Subgroups used: For state accountability, Mississippi will focus on 10 student subgroups – economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, native Hawaiian or Pacific islander students, students of two or more races, and white students. Additionally, Mississippi will identify a subgroup of the lowest-performing 25 percent of students. By using this additional subgroup, Mississippi attempts to capture students from any of the other subgroups who might not have otherwise been captured, for schools that do not have enough students to meet the n-count (see below) for those other groups.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 10 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

ESSA requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Mississippi established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, schools that meet any of these criteria: 

    • CSI schools: Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide, based on overall summative accountability score
    • CSI high schools: Any school with less than a 67 percent graduation rate
    • TSI schools: Title I schools that do not exit TSI status after three years

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies and their schools by providing:

    • Annual needs assessment interview
    • Approval and monitoring of school improvement plans
    • Technical assistance including coaching
    • Formula grants to support evidence-based interventions
    • Priority access to statewide professional learning
    • Required quarterly regional leadership team meetings and webinars, based on areas identified in school comprehensive needs assessments

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After three years, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • No longer meeting the CSI identification criteria
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        Identified annually beginning in 2018-19, schools that meet any of the following criteria:

        • TSI schools: Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide that are not already identified as CSI and have a “consistently underperforming” student subgroup meeting the following criteria.
          • Three-year average academic achievement and growth is less than the statewide target; and
          • Academic achievement and growth is less than the statewide target for any of the previous three years
        • Additional TSI schools: Any school with a “low-performing” student subgroup whose three-year average performance is at or below all students in any of the Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies in supporting their schools by providing:

          • Annual needs assessment interview
          • Review and feedback on school improvement plans
          • Help identifying evidence-based strategies
          • Formula and competitive grants, if available, to support evidence-based interventions
          • Technical assistance as requested or needed
          • Professional learning on using data for continuous improvement
          • Optional participation in quarterly regional leadership team meetings and webinars

          Criteria for exiting this category

            After three years, schools can exit TSI status by:

            • TSI schools: Achieving a three-year average growth rate for subgroup proficiency that exceeds the statewide target
            • Additional TSI schools: Achieving subgroup performance above all students at the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools statewide
            Other categories of schools

            Achievement school district

              Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, any school receiving an overall “F” letter grade for two consecutive years or two out of three previous years receive the following support from the state:

              • Access to CSI and TSI school supports
              • Full state governance

              Schools can exit the achievement school district by earning an overall “C” or higher letter grade for five consecutive years.

              This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.