2017 APR Shows KCPS is Building Bright Futures for Students

Four-year graduation rate exceeds 70 percent for the first time in recent memory


Kansas City, Nov. 15, 2017:  More Kansas City Public Schools students are graduating on time and successfully going to college or starting a career, according to 2017 Annual Progress Report (APR) data released to the public today by Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

KCPS earned 89.5 out of a possible 140 APR points in 2017. That means that the school system’s provisional accreditation status will remain unchanged.

APR provides a broad snapshot of student achievement for every public school system in the state by measuring academic achievement for all students in English language arts, math, science and social studies, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rates. Results are used by state and local officials and administrators to guide policies and procedures which will ensure that all children have access to schools which will prepare them to graduate on time and ready succeed in the 21st Century global economy.

The 2017 APR includes several positive trends suggesting that KCPS is headed in the right direction, including the fact that the school system’s four-year graduation rate has increased from 65.4 percent in 2015 to 71.8 percent. This is the first time in recent memory that the graduation rate in KCPS has exceeded 70 percent. In addition, the total number of graduates has increased 10 percent since 2015.

More KCPS students are progressing academically by demonstrating that they are proficient or advanced in English language arts (35.9 percent) and science (23.6 percent) compared to 2016. In addition, data indicates that students who remain in the same KCPS school for at least two years demonstrate academic achievement that is on par with their peers.

Post-secondary success is also a point of pride for KCPS in the 2017 APR data. The school system placed 93.3 percent of its graduates into a college or on a career track, compared to 89.9 percent in 2015. KCPS has surpassed Missouri’s 2020 goal for this APR category.

“We see a lot of reasons to celebrate in this report. We continue to trend in the right direction,” Superintendent Mark Bedell said. “The data shows that if you stick with us, you will graduate and be placed on a very positive college or career track.”

The 2017 report also identifies a number of opportunities for improvement:

Mobility – More than 40 percent of students in KCPS will change schools during any given academic year. This makes it very difficult to keep students on track and presents the single greatest challenge for KCPS. KCPS students who have experienced no mobility are between 40 and 80 percent more likely to be at or above the national average in reading and math.

Attendance – Only about 80 percent of KCPS students have an attendance rate of at least 90 percent. The state target is 90 percent of the students with an attendance rate of at least 90 percent (“90/90”). Parents can have a huge positive impact by making sure their children are at school ready to learn every day that classes are in session.

Academic Achievement – The number of KCPS students who are proficient or advanced in social studies decreased by about 10 percentage points compared to 2016. Student achievement is unacceptably low across the board, with fewer than 50 percent proficient or advanced in any academic subject. KCPS is taking many steps to increase academic achievement, including aligning curriculum with state standards, improving professional development for faculty, administrators and support staff, and offering more advanced placement/International Baccalaureate opportunities for students.

State Exams & Standards – State officials decided that the 2017 end-of-course (EOC) exam results in Algebra I and English II were valid but not comparable and did not include those results in the 2017 APR. In addition, the state continues to change its academic expectations and exams from year to year, making it difficult for educators to properly prepare their curriculum. KCPS is urging officials and lawmakers to maintain stable and reasonable academic expectations and measures.

The 2018-2023 Strategic Plan includes details about all of the goals, steps and measures being enacted in KCPS to ensure that all students are ready to graduate on time and succeed.

“The KCPS School Board and administration will collectively forge ahead with our focus on equity, opportunity and educating the whole child,” Board of Directors Chair Melissa Robinson said. “Our Strategic Plan includes success in the early years, mastery of all academic subjects, 21st Century critical thinkers and problem solvers, and readiness for college and careers. Full accreditation is one benchmark we will achieve as we ensure that all children benefit from great teaching and learning in our school system.”