By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The Mississippi Department of Education released the 2011 accountability results this week with good news for both Starkville and Oktibbeha County schools.
The accountability ratings are meant to provide an annual estimate of instructional effectiveness for the schools and districts in the state.
Each school and district is given a Quality Distribution Index (QDI) score, based on the scores received during the Mississippi Curriculum Test, second edition, the Subject Area Testing of algebra I, biology I, English II and U.S. history, and the language arts and mathematics sections of the MAAECF.
The results rank schools and districts based on QDI and other criteria, like graduation rates. Each school and district is given a label: failing, low performing, academic watch, successful, high performing or star school. Anything below 100 is considered a failing QDI score, while a score of 300 is perfect.
Last year, Starkville School District was labeled as academic watch, with an overall QDI score of 139, but with some major improvements the district has been bumped up to successful, with a QDI of 151. All of the schools in the district showed improvement in QDI scores. The district’s graduation rate went from 60.4 percent last year to 69.8 percent this year.
“We’re very pleased. There’s been a lot of hard work and we’ve made some great strides. I think it’s because everybody has been focused and doing common assessments, using their pacing guides and having high expectations for all students,” Interim Superintendent Beth Sewell said. “I’m so excited for the teachers for all their hard work and for the students, as well.”
Ward Stewart Elementary was previously listed as successful, with a QDI of 142. This year, it continues to be successful, with a QDI of 148.
Henderson Intermediate was also listed as successful, with a QDI of 136. It saw improvement as well and continues to be successful with a QDI of 144.
Armstrong Middle School was listed as academic watch last year, with a QDI of 134. This year, the school was labeled “successful” with a QDI of 152 — an 18-point jump.
Starkville High School was previously listed as successful with a QDI of 159. It also made a 18-point improvement to a QDI of 177, maintaining its successful ranking.
While there was one school in the district that made large changes in the last two years, the Oktibbeha County School District continues to post lower numbers compared to its city counterparts. Last year, the district was labeled as at risk of failing, with an overall QDI of 109. Despite some improvements, the district’s QDI remains at 109 and is labeled a low-performing district — a term that replaced at risk of failing. Overall, the district’s graduation rate is just 55 percent, down from 62.4 percent last year.
East Oktibbeha County Elementary School was listed as at risk of failing, with a QDI of 114. The school’s QDI score fell to 101 and is labeled low performing.
East Oktibbeha County High School was listed as failing, with a QDI of 95. The school’s QDI score improved to a 96, but the school is still labeled as failing.
West Oktibbeha County High School was listed as at risk of failing, with a QDI of 104. This school’s score remains the same and is listed as low performing.
West Oktibbeha County Elementary was listed at academic watch with a QDI of 124. The school made a major 18-point improvement and received a QDI score of 147 and is listed as successful. Just two years ago, the school was listed as failing. Principal Andrea Temple said she was extremely proud of how far it has come.
“We’re proud of everyone’s team effort. Everyone played a part in our success,” Temple said. “We worked with students individually to target weaknesses and turn them into strengths. It’s been a major accomplishment.”
For more information on the 2011 accountability results for districts and schools around the state, visit Mississippi Department of Education’s website, http://www.mde.k12.ms.us .