The Washington School District scored 91.8 percent out of the points possible on its Annual Performance Report (APR) released by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Although the score is high, it is a drop from 97.5 earned last year, due to two coding errors, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann.
“Like all data, there is a story behind the numbers,” she said. “Our score would have been 96 percent if not for the errors that occurred with two students.”
There are five areas in which schools can earn points — academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rate.
In the areas of academic achievement, Straatmann said the district increased in the percent of students earning qualifying scores due to being in proficient and advanced in the areas of English/language arts (ELA), science and math.
Only social studies did not show an increase and this is where the coding errors occurred as well, she said.
“We had a significantly small group of students, 23 total, take the social studies end of course assessment,” Straatmann explained. “This was due to moving the course from a freshman level to a junior level.”
The makeup of the students taking the assessment were those who had moved into the district and hadn’t taken the assessment, she said, or those who were not successful in passing the course on their first attempt. Scores in this area dropped significantly, she said.
“This was compounded by not staying under the required Level Not Determined (LND) percentages set by DESE,” Straatmann said.
Districts must assess 95 percent of their students in any given content area, meaning that a district cannot have an LND over 5 percent.
Straatmann said there are thousands of codes that districts assign to students, including years in the district, free and reduced lunch status, co-teaching codes, gender, full-time, part-time, IEP (Individualized Education Program), programming status, race, migrant and others.
“Two of our students were miscoded, which resulted in them being not coded for test exemption,” she said. “The students were not given the social studies assessment due to one being on an IEP and the other being an exchange student.”
Not giving the assessment was a correct action, Straatmann said. The error occurred by not marking them exempt, she said.
“Coupling this with the significantly small number of students taking social studies, the percent of having two students miscoded, resulted in us exceeding the 5 percent allowable variance,” she said.
Straatmann said the district takes “great pride” in the accuracy of its data.
“The miscoding of these two students in the vast amount of coding required is very unfortunate,” she said. “We have reviewed procedures for analyzing data prior to submissions to ensure its accuracy and have made a few revisions to keep this error from happening in the future.”
In the area of subgroup achievement, the district earned 75 percent of the points possible, which is slightly less than in 2015.
“Again, this is a result of social studies scores being low,” Straatmann said.
“When the actual student data is reviewed, the district would have earned 96.4 percent of the points possible for the scores students achieved in academic achievement,” she said. “Seventy-five percent of the points possible were earned in subgroup achievement.”
In the area of college and career readiness, the district earned 100 percent of the points, which is an increase from 98.3 percent in 2015.
In the areas of college and career assessments, advance placement and postsecondary placement, the district earned 100 percent of the points possible, which would have resulted in an overall total of 96 percent of points earned.
Straatmann said the Washington School District is very proud of its students and staff and their overall performance.
“As the target for success continues to rise on an annual basis, the district continues to work hard in developing students with the skills to be successful in college and careers,” she said. “It is our goal to develop well-rounded individuals. The true results of the district’s performance shows that students are ready for future endeavors.”
Here’s how other school districts in Franklin County performed on the APR:
Lonedell — 100.
Strain-Japan — 100.
Sullivan — 97.1.
New Haven —96.8.
Franklin County R-II (New Haven) — 96.3.
St. Clair — 88.2.
Meramec Valley — 87.1.
Union — 80.
Districts must earn at least 70 percent of points possible to remain fully accredited. Districts that earn less than 50 percent risk losing accreditation, though state officials look at three years of data before making an accreditation change.
For the first time in years, all Missouri school districts performed well enough on their annual report cards to qualify for at least a provisional seal of approval from the state.