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The Mississippi Department of Education’s Implementation of Selected Components of Mississippi’s Statewide Accountability System

Report Information

Date Issued
Report Number
A22IL0091
What We Did

The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) implemented selected components of its statewide accountability system in accordance with Mississippi’s approved State plan and any approved amendments. Our audit covered MDE’s processes for implementing selected components of Mississippi’s statewide accountability system based on accountability data for school years 2017–2018, 2018–2019, and 2021–2022. The selected components were (1) establishment of long-term goals for improved academic achievement, (2) indicators used to measure student academic achievement and school success, (3) annual meaningful differentiation, and (4) identification of low-performing schools and schools with low-performing student subgroups. Our audit also covered the funding and support services that MDE provided to LEAs with schools identified in the fall of 2022 as needing comprehensive support and improvement (CSI), targeted support and improvement (TSI), and additional targeted support and improvement (ATSI).

What We Found

MDE generally implemented the long-term goals, indicators, annual meaningful differentiation, and identification of low-performing schools’ components of its statewide accountability system in accordance with Mississippi’s approved State plan and amendment. However, its implementation of several aspects of the accountability system deviated from the plan. In several cases, the changes warranted the Department’s review and approval; however, MDE implemented the changes without (1) submitting amendments to the Department or (2) waiting for the Department to approve the amendments. In addition, found that MDE did not always calculate indicator scores, perform annual meaningful differentiation, and identify schools for CSI in accordance with Mississippi’s approved State plan and amendment. We also determined that MDE provided funding and additional support to all 236 Mississippi public schools that it identified in the fall of 2022 as needing additional support based on accountability data for school years 2017–2018, 2018–2019, and 2021–2022. Lastly, as noted in the “Other Matters” section of our report, MDE did not take corrective actions that were responsive to the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor’s recommendations for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of graduation rate data used in Mississippi’s statewide accountability system.

What We Recommend

We made five recommendations to address the issues identified, including that MDE update its policies and procedures to reflect that all changes to Mississippi’s approved State plan should be submitted to the Department and approved by the Department before implementing changes to the accountability system.

Management Challenge Area

Oversight and Monitoring—Grantees, and Data Quality and Reporting

Related Work Products

Recommendations

No recommendations at this time.