The annual performance report (APR) is simply a snapshot of how Missouri public school districts and charter schools are performing.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education gathers data on a yearly basis, mainly to determine which districts are operating successfully and which are essentially failing. The score does not affect district funding in any way.
It's also important to note districts' scores can't be directly compared. Many local districts are drastically different in size and in student demographic, so scrutinizing them side by side isn't a fair analysis.
DESE grades districts based on five categories — academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rates.
To be fully accredited, districts have to receive at least 70 percent of the total possible points. The total points differ from some districts to others, but most K-12 districts can earn a maximum of 140 points.
Provisionally accredited districts fall between the 50-69.9 percent mark, and unaccredited districts fall below 49.9 percent.
Three years ago, districts at or above 90 percent were accredited with distinction. DESE plans to bring the designation back once additional criteria to earn the distinction are determined, DESE spokeswoman Sarah Potter said.
For the first time in the history of the APR, none of Missouri's public school districts scored in the unaccredited range. Seven districts scored provisional, and 510 scored accredited.
"We must continue to work together with our community to ensure that these improvements are sustainable and that we do not stop until we are assured that every child has access to excellent education," Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven said. "We appreciate school communities that are supporting education and their local schools. All students deserve the opportunity to succeed, and community support and parental involvement are key ingredients to that success."
One frustrating aspect of the APR is the standardized test scores — which make up a majority of the points for academic achievement and subgroup achievement — cannot be compared to the previous year's scores. Missouri changed the learning standards and the standardized test from last year, so the scores cannot be compared from year to year.
However, Potter said the APR scores can be compared from year-to-year because of how officials calculate growth and reward points for growth and progress.
Breakdown of the five measures:
Academic achievement is worth the majority of the points in the district's APR score. The academic achievement score is determined by how a district's students scored on the state standardized tests for English language arts, math, social studies and science.
Subgroup achievement includes the test scores for students who participate in the free and reduced lunch program, have a racial or ethnic background, English language learners or students with disabilities.
College and career readiness includes scores for the ACT and COMPASS college preparatory tests; the military ASVAB test; Advanced Placement and dual-credit tests; and post-secondary placement, which includes two- and four-year colleges, the military and entering the competitive workforce.
Attendance is graded based on whether 90 percent of students are attending school 90 percent of the time.
Graduation rate is scored on a district's four-, five-, six- and seven-year graduation rates. The idea is DESE wants all students to graduate high school, even if they don't do it in four years.