SMITH

As many of you know, students in Missouri participate in the Missouri Assessment Program each year as part of the state and federal guidelines in measuring academic growth for school districts. At the high school level, students are required to take end-of-course (EOC) exams in the areas of Algebra 1, English 2, Government, and Biology before graduating. Students who take the Algebra 1 EOC in eighth grade are required to take the Algebra 2 EOC in high school as students are required to take one Math EOC in high school.

Schools in Missouri may choose to add additional testing for high school students. Houston High school students have yearly taken the English 1 EOC, but, in the 2016-2017 school year, HHS chose to add Geometry and Algebra 2 testing for all students taking those classes. These additional tests allow us to measure student knowledge in those areas. Also, some students may need the scores in the areas of Algebra 2 or Geometry to meet the A+ requirement of having a proficient or advanced score on a Math EOC.

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, school districts in Missouri were notified there was a problem with the EOC testing in the areas of English 2 and Algebra 1. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) received scores for all Missouri students in July. After looking at the scores for the entire state, DESE determined the scores were not comparable to previous years’ scores. This problem has arisen from the company who created the EOC tests.

As part of Missouri schools’ annual review of progress, academic scores received from the spring assessments are part of the calculation in determining a school’s annual performance as reported in the annual performance report. At the high school level, the EOCs are a large part of this calculation. DESE has stated the Algebra 1 and English 2 scores will not be part of this calculation. At this point in time, DESE is determining how this exclusion of the testing data will affect schools.

What does this mean for high school students? Keeping in mind students trying to earn an A+ scholarship must pass the Algebra 1 or a higher math EOC at the proficient or advanced level, DESE has stated student scores from the 2016-2017 testing are usable for A+ purposes. Students will not need to retake the English 2 or Algebra 1 EOC.

This has been a disappointing turn of events for the Houston district as the district saw an increase in scores in the Algebra 1 testing data as compared to the previous year. We want our students and school to have the proper recognition for the hard work that went into the increased scores. As always, we use the data from EOC scores as a piece of the overall puzzle in assisting our students in their growth.

In the next few weeks, DESE will be making a decision as to how to proceed with the annual performance report for schools in Missouri. As we get updated information, we will share the decisions that have been made.

AMY SMITH, HHS PRINCIPAL

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