Most VWSD schools show improvement while the MDE bar keeps moving

Published 7:17 pm Saturday, October 13, 2018

Reviews in the latest accountability scores released by the Mississippi Department of Education are mixed from one end of the state to the other after MDE approved the A-to-F ratings for public schools and districts following a month-long delay.

School officials and even MDE members continue to express concerns raised by superintendents and teachers about the scoring system, which seems to change from year-to-year and some believe adversely affects certain districts, while favoring others.

For the last three years, the Vicksburg Warren School District has remained steady around the 500 mark, which according to the current grading system is at D level. The previous system used by MDE would have given VWSD a C rating.

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The frequent changes to the grading system have been caused by a number of factors, including the state administering three different standardized tests in three years. During a work session on Wednesday, state Superintendent Carey Wright said more change is coming. That’s in part because the federal government is mandating that the state’s grading system separately factor in the performance of students learning English. A proposal tested this year mainly worked to bring down school grades, but Wright says Mississippi is likely to reconsider.

Wright also said the state may return to giving a one-year grace period every time it introduces a new test, with new science and U.S. history tests coming.

Despite the constant changes, several VWSD elementary schools continue to improve. Bowmar Avenue and Bovina both moved from B’s to A’s, while three elementary schools — Beechwood, Redwood and Warrenton — maintained their B level grades.

South Park Elementary moved from a D to a C, but it was Dana Road Elementary that made the most dramatic jump. Scores at the school went from 280 in 2017 to an incredible 345 this past year, which is a credit to the hard work of faculty, teachers and students at the school.

And for that we say “congratulations” to all those schools who made significant gains despite MDE adjusting the bar each year.