CPSD maintains strong ‘A’ rating as a district

Not only is the Clinton Public School District an A-rated district, this year it moved from the fifth- to third-highest achieving school district in Mississippi.

“Our students and teachers continue to meet or exceed the high expectations placed on them,” said Dr. Tim Martin, superintendent of schools. “We’re grateful for all their hard work to make this A rating possible.”

The Mississippi Department of Education released letter grade ratings this week, with an A as the highest possible academic rating. CPSD’s overall score is 729, up nearly 20 points over last year’s total of 711. The minimum score districts must reach for A-status is 668.

Of all 144 Mississippi school districts, Clinton’s score is the 3rd highest statewide and tops in the Metro Area.

In addition to the district’s high score, three of CPSD’s schools are among the top 25 elementary schools statewide — Clinton Park Elementary (3rd highest), Northside Elementary (4th highest) and Eastside Elementary (24th highest). Among high schools, Clinton High and Sumner Hill (which are ranked together as 9-12) are Mississippi’s 24th highest achieving high school.

Diminishing Returns

While the district as a whole maintained its A rating, some school ratings changed from last year. Clinton Park, Northside, Eastside and Lovett elementary schools are all A-rated schools. Clinton Junior High, Sumner Hill and Clinton High School are B-rated schools. Sumner Hill and Clinton High School receive the same ratings because they are treated as one 9-12 high school in the accountability model.

“This does not mean that our junior high and high school are doing worse,” Martin said. “The issue is with the accountability formula and the requirement for growth. Because growth is such a significant factor in the formula, we were caught by the law of diminishing returns.”

Students are scored on a five-point scale on state tests, with 3 considered a passing score. But schools don’t get growth points for students who score 3 one year and then score 3 the following year. Only students scoring 4 or 5 meet growth by maintaining their current levels. The percent of students scoring at a 1 or 2, the two lowest levels, dropped from 19.3% in 2016 to 12% in 2019 in Language Arts. They also dropped from 16.3% in 2016 to 9.9% in 2019 in Math. This causes more students to score at a level 3, a positive outcome for students, but hurts a school’s growth score because they are not being counted as meeting growth.

“As a district,” Martin said, “our priority is and always has been student learning and we are going to continue to provide excellence in education, regardless of the accountability formula”

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