MMR scores show Austin student growth improves

Austin Public Schools District showed improvement in student growth through the Multiple Measurement Rating scores.

“Many of our buildings saw in particular good gains in the growth domain and the achievement gap reduction domain,” said Educational Services Director John Alberts.

These are two of the four main ratings in the MMR, a state test that measures student test scores at schools across the state. The four categories are proficiency, which looks at student scoring and sub-groups in schools and whether they’ve reduced the achievement gap; growth, which measures students’ growth from one year to the next; academic gap reduction, which compares historically lower performing sub-groups to their historically higher performing peers; and graduation rates, which looks at rates for 2013 and 2014.

Every school can receive up to 25 points per category for how well they did on the MMR scores. This equals to 75 possible points per school, besides the high school which can receive up to 100 points with the added graduation rate category, which only applies to the high school.

Alberts said most the schools gained points in growth. At Southgate Elementary School, the points gained jumped to 16.32, up from last year’s 13.14. Sumner Elementary School jumped to 17.55 from last year’s 7.21, Ellis Middle School went to 14.10 from last year’s 8.78, and Neveln Elementary School went to 22.88 from last year’s 9.96.

Both Banfield Elementary School and Austin High School had slight decreases by less than two points each.

“When you look at the total MMR the majority of our sites showed increases in MMRs, and a couple of our sites had slight decreases,” Alberts said.

The biggest switch, according to Alberts, was in the proficiency domain.

“We saw a number of our sites decrease in that domain,” he said.

Although there was decrease in that category, Alberts said generally speaking the MMR results are positive for the district.

“We’ve got multiple measures to look at, and a few went well … but in the overall proficiency category we slipped just a little bit, so we could improve there,” he said.

The MMR also measures a Focus Rating, which determines how well schools are focusing on lowering the achievement gap. State officials use the same achievement gap data under the MMR while also looking at how well non-white and non-privileged students performed on the MCA. If the scores are not good, the school could get a focus rating designation.

A few years ago, Southgate received a focus rating designation because they had achievement gap issues, but ultimately they have gotten off that list. This year, none of the schools got a focus rating designation, according to Alberts.

There are also opportunities to become either a reward school or a celebration school.

“Three elementary [schools], Neveln, Sumner, Southgate, are celebration eligible, which means they performed well enough that they can apply to be a celebration school,” Alberts said.

Focus, reward and celebration status only affects those schools that receive title funds, which go to schools with a higher than district average percentage of free and reduced lunch. Some of the district’s schools qualify and some don’t.

Although the MMR scores can get confusing, Alberts said they do serve a purpose.

“Ultimately what the MMR asks or looks at is how can we make sure all students are succeeding,” he said.

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