At the center of the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal education law, are several measures focusing on student achievement and accountability. The federal law requires states to develop academic standards and test students' progress toward achieving the standards.
Minnesota Department of Education's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver request was approved by the U.S. Department of Education and announced in February 2012.
Under NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is the level of improvement that school districts and schools must achieve each year. School districts have until 2013-14 to achieve 100 percent proficiency for all students in all subgroups (students with limited English proficiency, students with special education needs, students receiving free or reduced lunch, and students who are White, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Hispanic).
With the waiver, Minnesota's goal is to close the achievement gaps by 50 percent over the next six years.
NCLB requires that students are tested in grades 3-8 and in high school in reading and mathematics. Minnesota uses the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments to meet this requirement. Additionally, NCLB requires annual tests for science once in grades 3-5, once in grades 6-8 and once in grades 9-12.
Results of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments are used to determine whether a school meets AYP participation and proficiency requirements. Attendance and graduation rate for all students are also part of AYP determinations.
However, central to Minnesota's waiver request was to move from a system that uses a single high-stakes test to measure school performance to a system that uses multiple measurements of accountability.
The state's new accountability system is based on multiple measures of data to identify schools for recognition, accountability and support. Minnesota's accountability plans look at individual student growth, achievement gap reduction and graduation rates in addition to proficiency rates to generate a Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) for every school in the state.
Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR)
In May 2012, the Minnesota Department of Education released the Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) for schools across the state. The initial ratings were based on test results and data averaged from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.
In August 2012, the ratings based on 2011-12 school year data were released. Moorhead elementary schools made dramatic increases compared to the initial ratings.
Previously under the federal No Child Left Behind law, schools were labeled as "failing" or "not failing" based on scores from a single high-stakes test. The MMR rating measures performance in four areas: proficiency in reading and math, student growth from year to year, higher levels of growth in groups of students that are farther behind, and progress in improving high school graduation rates. Schools earn points in each category, and the percentage of possible points a school earns is the school's MMR.
This new tool is part of Minnesota's waiver from No Child Left Behind. Under the waiver, schools and districts will no longer be identified as "in need of improvement" or face sanctions for not making AYP.
The new formula is complex and requires careful examination of data on several levels. The potential is strong for making an inaccurate judgment based on one ranking or determining the quality of a school without a full understanding of what contributed to that ranking.
A school's Focus Rating (FR) is a secondary measurement within the MMR that measures schools specifically on the performance of student subgroups that may show an achievement gap in Minnesota (Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Free/Reduced Price Lunch, Special Education and English Learners). The state's goal is to close the achievement gaps by 50 percent over the next six years.
Title I Schools
All schools receive ratings. Additionally, Title I schools may be identified as Reward Schools (15 percent highest-performing Title I schools in the state); Focus Schools (10 percent of Title I schools with the largest achievement gaps in the state); or Priority Schools (bottom 5 percent of Title I schools).
In Moorhead, both Ellen Hopkins Elementary and Robert Asp Elementary are Title I schools. Robert Asp Elementary was designated as celebration eligible, which means it falls in the 10 percent of Title I schools with MMRs between the 60th and 86th percentiles and is eligible to submit an application explaining factors that make the school effective. Only 10 percent of applicants are selected for celebration status. The celebration-eligible status is a turnaround for Robert Asp Elementary, which had been identified for mandated restructuring under the former AYP system.
Hopkins Elementary was identified as a Focus School based on the initial MMR and wrote a school improvement plan that was presented to the School Board in August 2012. Focus Schools are the 10 percent of Title I schools with the largest achievement gaps in the state. These schools are identified once every three years. Hopkins has since been identified as celebration eligible, but the Focus School identification remains in place for one more year.
World's Best Workforce
The Minnesota Legislature passed the World's Best Workforce bill in 2013 to ensure every school district in the state is making strides to increase student performance. The School Board must establish goals and align strategic plans and budgets to achieve world-class student achievement by 2027.
World's Best Workforce (WBWF) is focused on the goals of having all students meet school readiness goals and be ready to start kindergarten, having all third-grade students achieve grade-level literacy, closing the academic achievement gap between all subgroups (ethnic, special education, poverty), having all students graduate from high school, and having all students attain college and career preparedness.
District plans that address World's Best Workforce include:
- Strategic Priorities
- Local Literacy Plan
- English Learner Plan of Service
- Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (ADSIS)
- Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process (CIMP)
- Annual Operating Plan
- Technology Plan
- School Readiness and Early Learning Goals
- Community Education Plan
- Principal Growth and Evaluation Plan
- Teacher Growth and Evaluation Plan
Moorhead Area Public Schools is required to prepare the Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement, which must be approved by the School Board by Oct. 1 each year.
The report highlights:
- Student achievement goals for meeting the state academic standards;
- Result of local assessment data;
- School district improvement plans and progress on previous improvement plans; and
- Annual assessment of school district testing program.
Read the district's current and previous annual reports.
Additional historical demographic and assessment data is available in the School Profiles documents.
Minnesota Report Card
The Minnesota Report Card provides access to district and school information, test results, revenue and expenditure data, and demographic information at the Minnesota Department of Education website.