Clopton was excellent, Louisiana was very good and the BONCL school district’s numbers were skewed in a new annual performance report set up by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for accreditation.
The new ratings are based on academic performance, attendance, graduation rate, the achievement of disadvantaged students and college or career readiness.
The Clopton Pike County R-III (Clopton) School District scored 130 out of 140 possible points to be put into the highest category of accredited with distinction.
Louisiana R-II schools scored 124 points, just two points shy of the 126 needed to reach the distinction mark. Louisiana was classified in the second highest tier of accredited schools.
The BONCL R-X numbers seemed to have put them in the third of fourth categories named provisional, one step away from unaccredited.
However, the school’s seemingly dismal number of 45 out of 76 points possible was incorrect, according to DESE Area Supervisor J.D. King.
“The data for BONCL is not correct,” King said. “It will be correct next year. If they weren’t doing well, I’d be the first person to say so.”
A disadvantaged student left the district last spring and did not take the state tests that determine the academic performance part of the accreditation formula, King said. However, the student was still counted in with the BONCL numbers.
The state punishes districts for not testing students to the point of giving zeros in subcategories, King said.
“One kid out of a class that does not take a test could get the whole class a zero for the year,” King said.
That’s what happened to BONCL, where subcategories in math and social studies showed zeroes out of 16 possible in English and eight possible for social studies. Because the student was in the disadvantaged category, it also showed up there as zeroes for math, science and social studies in areas with 14 total points possible.
The BONCL school is really at 75 percent of the total numbers possible, King said, which would put it at the accredited level like Louisiana.
Unfortunately, those numbers won’t be readjusted until next year’s performance report is done, King added.
“The 75 is reflective of where we’re at,” said BONCL Superintendent Cassie Huckstep-Spangler. In addition, only about 25 of the school’s third-through eighth grade students take the state tests, Huckstep-Spangler said.
“I still want to improve beyond the 75,” she added. To do that, particularly in math, the rural school is now tutoring struggling students and has gone to a full day for pre-school students.
The high marks for the Clopton district were a reason for Superintendent Mark Harvey to heap praise.
“We’d like to highlight the good job the kids, faculty, staff and parents do,” Harvey said. “The community should be proud.”
Some students just don’t do well on standardized tests, a fact that isn’t reflected in the raw numbers, Harvey said.
Clopton showed almost perfect scores across the board. However, the district earned only two out of the possible four points possible in the English knowledge section of the disadvantaged students category and six of eight points for all students.
Faculty will adjust to increase those numbers in the future, Harvey said.
“We can always improve, but we’re fortunate to have the faculty and staff we do,” said Louisiana Superintendent Dr. Richard Basden.
Louisiana did well across the board, but lacked in the college and career readiness area, scoring 23.5 points out of a possible 30.
The state A+ program that puts students into college and trade schools and the work-study program recently set up by Fifth Gear with the schools should help those number rise, Basden said.