The Union R-XI School District’s annual performance report score jumped nearly 13 percentage points.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced statewide results for both the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and district annual performance reports (APR) for the 2017-18 school year Feb. 1.
Union received an APR score of 92.9 percent — besting the district’s goal of 90 percent. The jump was 12.9 percentage points higher than 80 APR the district received in 2016 and 2017.
“A 12.9 point increase is great news,” Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said. “That just shows all the hard work of the students, teachers, staff and parents. They all worked hard to accomplish this.”
The 2018 score of 92.9 is the highest since the district scored 88.2 in 2015.
“This score reflects the very focused and intensive work our teachers and administrators engage in daily in their quest to increase academic rigor, enhance curriculum, and continually improve classroom instruction and student learning,” Weinhold said in a letter to staff. “Each of these components come together to benefit our students and their academic achievement. Improved student performance does not happen solely by chance.”
The APR is based on the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 5). Districts are graded on a wide range of data. The categories include academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rates.
For the 2017-18 school year, Union received a perfect score in three out of the five categories — subgroup achievement, college and career readiness and attendance.
The district narrowly missed a perfect score in the first category, academic achievement. It earned 39 out of a possible 40 points.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Hayes said he was pleased with how well the district scored in academic achievement and subgroup achievement.
“That’s really been one of our focus areas over the last two years,” he said. “To have those areas met, it’s a big accomplishment for our staff.”
The district’s two subgroups are free and reduced lunch and students with disabilities, Hayes said.
“We were 100 percent in that and that’s very exciting for us,” he said.
The district scored the lowest in the graduation rate category. It earned 22.5 out of a possible 30 points.
DESE reported 83.58 of Union students graduated within four years of becoming a freshman. The state average is 89.23.
In 2017, Union had an 84.51 graduation rate.
Hayes said the district’s students scored well despite a more “rigorous” test. On the third-grade English/language arts test, 54.8 percent of the district’s students scored proficient or advanced. The state average was 48.6 percent.
In the seventh-grade math test, 44.1 percent of Union students scored proficient or advanced compared to 37.9 in the state.
“We were very excited with how that turned out,” Hayes said. “. . . Our students, as a whole, did better on a more rigorous assessment. Even with all the changes that have occurred, we were able to make progress from where our students were last year to where they ended up being this year.”
Weinhold said he thought the APR increase was related to the district’s curriculum changes.
“It really comes from more of a focused curriculum,” Weinhold said. “Teachers focus more inside the curriculum. It’s really working together for a common goal.”
Weinhold credited Hayes, teachers and staff for their work with implementing and executing the curriculum.
Hayes said a new APR goal has not been set. After beating the 90 percent mark, he said the district could target something like 95.
“We want to continue to increase,” he said. “Anywhere between 94 and 95 is a strong target.”
Obtaining that number would be a challenge, but he said the district appears on the right track.