I have received some questions in reference to Mississippi’s test scores and school rankings. For that reason, I want to give you a basic and general explanation of the system.
Below, you will see 5 levels that each student’s test scores will fall into. I also gave you a letter grade and description for each level to help you understand what that level represents in general terms.
Level 5 – A or Advanced
Level 4 – B or Proficient
Level 3 – C or Basic/Average
Level 2 – D or Below Average
Level 1 – F or Failing
On MDE’s website, you will find each grade of each school reflects the percentages of students that fell into Levels 1-5. This is done for each tested subject by each grade level. Now, there are many ways that MDE uses these numbers to determine ratings or rankings. Let’s say that we have an A rated school who scores high on all of their tests year after year, that school will not reflect the amount of growth that an F rated school would show if their students were to make significant improvements. An A rated school may fall lower in MDE’s rankings than you think it should because it didn’t reflect as much growth that year. This is a factor that plays into determining rankings. After this has been taken into account, they review actual proficiency by grade level in each subject. There are multiple factors taken into account for the overall scoring system, and most parents want simple results that they can understand. Not to mention, there have been years where test scores were frozen, so school districts were allowed to keep a previous year’s grades instead of the scores that students actually made. This whole process can be very confusing. Add to that the constant changes made in the scoring system by the state, how can any of us know 100% where our schools fall?!
Schooldigger.com gets their information from MDE. Their information is accurate and simple to understand. You can go to MDE’s website to see the actual percentages for Levels 1-5 for each tested subject at each school. It is more time consuming and not quite as easy to understand for most parents and citizens. Anyway you look at it, what matters most is how your child is performing and how well you feel your child’s school meets your student’s needs academically. We can use the info from MDE or Schooldigger as a reference for how our schools compare to others in the state and district and as to how the students are performing. Data can be manipulated or changed, so most parents just want a basic idea or understanding of how our kids and schools are doing. Hopefully, my Schooldigger.com post below can provide you with that information.
For more information, here is a link to the detailed results on MDE’s website.