Mississippi Board of Education delays approval of A-F grades for schools and districts

Districts are expressing concerns about current accountability model and grading scale.

Mississippi Board of Education delays approval of A-F grades for schools and districts

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -State Board of Education members will have another month to review the school and district ratings.

“It may be good if this board would consider delaying it for awhile so that we can get the concerns from all the public. And then we can address it. Because there is a lot of concern out there and it’s very frustrating. I have had all kind of calls.”

Districts have also expressed worry about part of the accountability model that is tied to growth.

The Mississippi State Board of Education voted to delay consideration of approval of letter grades for the 2017-18 school year for schools and districts based on Mississippi’s A-F accountability system.
The Mississippi State Board of Education voted to delay consideration of approval of letter grades for the 2017-18 school year for schools and districts based on Mississippi’s A-F accountability system. (WLBT)

“I think you’ll see a lot of your high performing schools that may dip some in this model because they may have great growth one year and again it can be difficult to have great growth the second year," said Pearl Superintendent Raymond Morgigno. "So, you sometimes see that. You don’t want people thinking ‘oh my gosh, what’s happening with the school? Are they going downhill?’ Because that’s not the case.”

More recently, the high school grading scale was changed, but districts say it creates a moving target.

“This is happening to high schools every year," said board member Buddy Bailey. "You’re dragging 'em back from B to C , C to B, or A to B.”

Grades for high schools were inflated last year to account for the differences between the standardized tests that were used in recent years, but without the inflation, this year’s ratings will look different.

“You do worry though with the model, we’ll just call it a yo-yo model," noted Morgigno. "Because it does effect a community. If it’s a business coming into a community, they’re looking for good schools in that community.”

Still, the board president doesn’t expect that the grades for this year will be changed before the release, but he does expect more discussion on the accountability model as a whole moving forward.

The accountability data was sent under embargo to superintendents and members of the media. That embargo was set to lift at noon Thursday. The results are unofficial and not yet approved the board.

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