State to tweak school ranking formula

As the academic year nears its close, the formula that will be used to grade Mississippi’s schools still is being tweaked.

The Mississippi Board of Education in January approved a new model for measuring the state’s schools and districts. However, the U.S. Department of Education said this month it needs more work.

That’s because the new formula does not give enough weight to graduation rate, the federal department said. It means Mississippi must revise it with the state tests that will be used to determine rankings that will be distributed in just over a month.

The new model replaces the one that used Quality of Distribution Index, growth and graduation rate to grade schools. Instead, it examines the percentage of students who are proficient in reading, math and science and the percentage who meet growth in reading and math. Growth of students in the bottom 25 percent in reading and math also is measured.

Previously, Mississippi used a different formula to grade its schools than the one it sent to the federal government to measure them under the No Child Left Behind Law. But a state law passed last year requires it to use the same formula for both state and federal accountability. That meant the USDE had to approve the state’s new model.

Daily Journal
3/31/14