Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Matthew Davis, Ph.D


Dr. Thomassina Hassler, Ph.D

Dr. Timothy Makubuya, Ph.D

Dr. Carl Hoagland, Ph.D


In Missouri, the Missouri School Improvement Plan, generation 5 (MSIP-5) attempts to boil down assessment, attendance, college and career readiness, and graduation rates into a single score (out of 100). Within MSIP-5, Black and Hispanic students are lumped into a super subgroup with English language learners, students in poverty, and students with disabilities. The aggregate of test scores for all in these groups provide the indicators for school success.

There are two concerns. First, the indicator for subgroup achievement is worth only one-fourth of the points that overall student achievement. In addition, while the highest levels of achievement require the same test scores to obtain, lower levels have lower achievement requirements for the super subgroup in comparison to overall student achievement. The system therefore gives two reasons to value the achievement of White majorities over that of the super subgroup.

Using testing data made public by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), this study looked at the achievement gaps of Black and Hispanic students compared to White students over a two-year period. Changes in gaps were analyzed for two separate student cohorts (2015/2016 – 2016/2017) for all 8th grade tested subjects to develop a status composite of improvement; and changes in gaps were also analyzed for the same student cohort as they tested in 7th and then 8th grade in English and Math to develop a growth composite of improvement.

The findings from this study demonstrate a lack of transparency in available data, as many schools involved with the study had to be eliminated due to either a lack of reported assessment data or, in the case of eleven schools, an APR score altogether. The findings from this study also suggest that while many schools have success in closing gaps, there is little connection between how well Black and Hispanic students achieve in relation to White students, and the overall APR rating that schools receive. This insignificance raises the need for further research, but also a reexamination of the priorities being set by the school accountability system of Missouri.