The Kansas City Public Schools took another step in building its case for full accreditation Wednesday night.
Preliminary test results from spring high school testing matched the district’s projections that have been forecasting it will be well into the fully accredited range when state report cards arrive in August.
Estimated index scores showed enough growth in high school performance to put the district at or above its improvement target, said Vickie Murillo, the chief academic officer.
The one dip was in English language arts — a subject that was tested for the first time online with new Common Core-based exams.
The district is still awaiting results for third through eighth grades, whose math and English language arts tests were also taken with new Common Core tests, and districts across the nation often have seen their scores strained in the transition.
Murillo remained optimistic.
“If we were awarded accreditation off of these scores, we’d be jumping for joy,” she said. The state plans take into account the effects of new tests, she added, “and I believe we will still hit our (mark for) full accreditation.”
Even if the district reaches a state score above the fully accredited range, it is more likely that the state school board will want to see at least another year of performance before raising the district’s status.
Still, the board was in a celebratory mood as it said goodbye to Superintendent Steve Green in his last board meeting before leaving to take the superintendent post at DeKalb County Schools in Georgia.
A lineup of civic leaders took time during the public comment period to thank Green, the board and district staff for the work over the past four years, and urging them, as Gayden Carruth of the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City said, to “stay the course.”
The district presented the state’s preliminary index scores, which provide a rating based on the number of students who scored in each performance category — below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.
The district did not show what percentage of students in the preliminary results scored proficient or advanced. Those official numbers will be published by the state likely in August along with the report cards.
Preliminary high school scores are available sooner because the state uses end-of-course exams in high schools that are scored quickly enough to be used in determining a student’s year-end grade.
The district saw growth in the exams in government, biology and Algebra I. The district dipped in English II, but it scored higher than it did in the start of the three-year window the state looks at in considering a district’s growth.
While index scores improved, official results in August will show how well the district is closing its gap with the state averages in the percentage of high school students scoring proficient or advanced.
A year ago, 54.7 percent of district high school students scored proficient or advanced in English II compared to 74.6 percent statewide.
In Algebra I, the total for the district was 33.3 percent and 54.9 percent statewide in 2014.
In biology last year, the total was 32.4 percent for the district and 67.3 percent statewide.
Government scoring a year ago for the district was 31.7 percent proficient or advanced compared to 62 percent statewide.
The district has projected that overall, it expects to earn 79 percent of the performance points possible, well above the 70 percent threshold required for full accreditation.
Last year, the district earned 66.1 percent, scoring above the provisional accreditation mark for the second year in a row.
The state board awarded the district provisional accreditation last August, marking the district’s recovery from a loss in accreditation that took effect Jan. 1, 2012.