2016 APR Rankings and School Poverty Rates

7 Jan

I am a bit behind here on posting the results of local schools in the 2016 Missouri Annual Performance Report (APR) rankings, which came out in November. So you may have already read about this. In order to add a little value, I am including the percentage of students in each district eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, which is the proxy for poverty rate generally used in the education business (income eligibility table here – it’s a Texas link but the numbers are the same). This will give us an indication of how poverty plays into the JeffCo school rankings.

For review, APR is a method of ranking schools in Missouri that takes into account test scores (and their changes over time), graduation rates, attendance, and college/career readiness. Here is my table:

2016-apr-table

The top three districts in the county for APR are unchanged this year, except that Windsor is tied for 2nd instead of being in 3rd place. Jefferson continues to improve, moving up to 4th this year while Northwest remains 5th. Hillsboro and Dunklin are slowly getting better. Sunrise and Desoto had bounce-back years, returning to their score from two years ago after big drops last year. Crystal City is stagnant, and Grandview dropped big; the district went from 4th in the county last year to 8th this year.

For statewide comparison, the Post-Dispatch reports that “about 67 percent of districts in the state got at least a 90 percent score, which is similar to last year.”

Free/Reduced Lunch Rates

There is definitely a correlation between APR score and free lunch rate in JeffCo; the five districts with the highest free lunch rates occupy the bottom five spots in the rankings, though not in order. Dunklin has the highest free lunch rate at 55.9%, followed by Sunrise and Desoto (which has the lowest APR). The statewide percentage of students eligible is 51.7%. Free lunch rates and other data are available here.

Interestingly, Festus, the best district in the county by the APR and MAP measures, has only the fifth-lowest free lunch rate. Facts like this show that a district can overcome a higher poverty rate, at least to some extent. The lowest free lunch rate is at Fox, at 32.6%, 23 percent less than at Dunklin.

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