News Releases

SBE Hears Changes to State Plan to Address Student Achievement, USDE Feedback

by Xi Guo | Jan 18, 2018

Carey M. Wright, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Education

Office of Communications & Legislative Support
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR, Director of Communications *601-359-3706 *FAX:  601-359-3033
Jean Cook, Communications Specialist *601-359-3519


For Immediate Release: January 18, 2018

SBE Hears Changes to State Plan to Address Student Achievement, USDE Feedback

JACKSON, Miss. – In response to U.S. Department of Education (USDE) feedback on the state’s plan to comply with federal law, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) must make changes that will impact how schools and districts are graded.

The MDE provided an update to the Mississippi State Board of Education today on three significant changes related to accountability: banking of Algebra I scores for students who take the course in 8th grade, incorporating a measure on the progress of English learners, and adjustment to the growth measure for the lowest 25 percent of students. These changes must be made before the next school year begins in August 2018.

“I want to stress that our goal is minimal disruption to the existing accountability system, while meeting the requirements laid forth in the feedback from USDE,” said Dr. Nathan Oakley, executive director of elementary education and reading at MDE.

In September, Mississippi submitted its state plan to improve outcomes for students in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal law that replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In December, Mississippi received interim feedback via a letter and a conference call with the USDE. Much of the feedback was technical in nature, asking for clarification or further explanation on sections of the plan, but USDE also requested Mississippi make changes to address three components of the accountability model.

Contrary to initial guidance, the USDE confirmed that the banking of Algebra I scores can continue for 8th grade students who take both 8th grade math and Algebra I. As such, Mississippi will not move forward with development or administration of an Algebra II assessment for advanced mathematics students, which means that the state will continue to double test 8th grade students who take Algebra I and bank scores for later use in the accountability model.

Mississippi’s plan included a timeline for the inclusion of English learner progress toward proficiency, initially as a plus/minus indicator to be included as a point value in the accountability model within three years. USDE is going to require Mississippi to include this indicator in the model with a point value when scores are calculated in the fall of 2018.

Finally, Mississippi – along with a number of other states – received pushback from USDE on the use of the low 25 percent growth indicator. Mississippi has been in discussion with national experts to explore possible solutions to ensure this indicator remains focused on measuring the improvement of underperforming students, while at the same time meeting USDE requirements.

The Accountability Task Force was assembled in the summer of 2017 to consider revisions to Mississippi’s model, and the feedback from USDE will accelerate their efforts, as the state makes adjustments to meet USDE requirements.

Mississippi will send an updated plan back to USDE on Feb. 1. The state’s plan Mississippi Succeeds is designed to bring improved transparency, support for underperforming schools and districts, increased accountability for results, and focused professional training for better quality teachers and school leaders.

For more information about ESSA and to read the Mississippi Succeeds comprehensive plan and executive summary, visit


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