Union public school officials still are examining state performance data but said they aren’t surprised with the scores.

The district received a 77.1 percent score on the draft of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) 5 Annual Performance Report (APR) that was released earlier this month.

Under the MSIP, which is slated to go into effect later this year, schools that receive above a 70 percent score will be accredited. Districts that receive above a 90 percent receive “distinction in performance” accreditation.

“We are pleased that under the new guidelines the district will continue its accredited status, but of course, we know there is always room for improvement,” said Superintendent Steve Bryant. “And to that end, we have been watching the new MSIP 5 standards carefully to see what impact the changes might have on our current accreditation status.”

Bryant said the Union district already has implemented programs that will improve test scores, and will continue to make changes that benefit students.

He noted that the draft MSIP 5 used last year’s test scores and other data to determine this score. The score is not to be used for accreditation this year.

While the MSIP 5 score would not be high enough for distinction in performance accreditation, the district received distinction in performance last year under the MSIP 4 program that is in place now.

Bryant added that the MSIP 4 used the same data from 2012 as the MSIP 5, however, the district would not have received distinction under the draft MSIP 5.

“What was surprising were the scores of comparable schools — both in our area and beyond — that had not received the same level of accreditation with distinction under MSIP 4 but completely outscored the Union district on MSIP 5,” Bryant said.

“These are some of the questions that we are going to have our state supervisor help us understand as we progress through the final preparations to gear up for MSIP 5 and the new accreditation process,” he added.

The MSIP 4 used a 14-point scale to determine accreditation. Last year the district received a 14 out of 14.

The MSIP 5 will use a 140 point scale and the standards are:

Academic achievement — the district administers assessments required by the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) to measure academic achievement and demonstrates improvements in the performance of its students over time.

Subgroup achievement — the district demonstrates required improvement in student performance for its subgroups.

College and career readiness for kindergarten through 12th grade — the district provides adequate postsecondary preparation for all students.

Attendance rate — The district ensures all students regularly attend school.

Graduation rate for kindergarten through 12th grade — the district ensures all students successfully complete high school.

If a district receives 126 points, or a 90 percent score, it would receive distinction in performance under the MSIP 5.

“We feel that we have strong building-level leaders who can meet this challenge and great people in each office to help us maintain the records and documentation that we’ll need to evidence our performance,” Bryant said. “Our teachers are doing a great job as they work through the substantial changes from MSIP 4 to MSIP 5 and the core academic standards transition.”

Because accreditation is based on multiple years of data, MSIP 5 will be used for accreditation purposes beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. School and district APRs generated during the transition from MSIP 4 to MSIP 5 will be used to inform each school and district of its progress toward meeting or exceeding the state targets.

“We intend to be one of the best overall educational programs in the state, and while the MSIP accreditation process is important, the fact is that we work to provide a complete educational program in all areas — facilities, fine arts, vocational programs, sports, academics, citizenship, ethics, and good decision-making,” Bryant said. “Education at Union R-XI is much more than a label or a plaque. It is the lives and futures of our community and our kids, and we take that responsibility very seriously. This is just another challenge, and we’ll meet it head-on.”