2018 LPS State Accountability Report

Lincoln Public Schools students continue to demonstrate solid, quality achievement, evident in student accountability and assessment scores, as well as graduation rates, released Friday as part of the annual school district evaluation information shared by the Nebraska Department of Education.

A few accountability highlights:

  • LPS again received designation as a “GREAT” school district, a designation that reflects: the quality of teaching and learning in the school district, and policies enacted by the Lincoln Board of Education that support high quality teaching and learning.
  • School district proficiency scores from spring state assessment indicate that LPS exceeds state mean scores in every grade from three through eight – in both English/language arts and mathematics.
  • The graduation rate under the state accountability system is a weighted computation based on the 4-year graduation rate and the extended 7-year graduation rate. Under this system the LPS combined high school graduation rate for the class of 2018 is 86.54 percent. The LPS percent of students who graduated in five, six or seven years is 90.35 percent. 

More information released Friday included:

  • In every grade 3-8, in both math and English/language arts, the LPS percent proficient exceeded the state mean. In some cases the difference was significant, for example in grades 4, 5, and 8 the difference was 9 percent in English/language arts and in grades 5, 6 and 7 the difference was more than 7 percent in math.
  • Although the English/language arts assessment was in its second year in 2017-2018, the state made some changes designed to keep scores stable. Despite that statistical change, LPS English/language arts scores improved in grades 5 through 8 and remained the same in grades 3 and 4. 
  • In science in grade 5 the LPS percent proficient was 69 percent compared to the state mean of 71 percent. In grade 8 in science the LPS percent proficient was 69 percent compared to the state mean of 67 percent.
  • The math assessment was new in 2017-2018 and therefore there is no comparison to previous years.

“We are incredibly proud of our educators and our students, and the accountability scores overall,” said Matt Larson, Interim Assistant to the Superintendent for Instruction. “Yet challenges remain. Significant and unacceptable learning differentials exist between demographic groups and schools. District and building leadership continue to work on areas of concern, develop school improvement plans and improve the learning experience of each and every student.”

The Department of Education provides a classification for all Nebraska school districts and schools (Excellent, Great, Good or Needs Improvement) through a system called AQuESTT (Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow). Determination of classifications is based on the following data:

  • In grades 3-8, state accountability scores in English/language arts and math, including individual student score growth, school score improvement and reduction in non-proficiency classifications.
  • In grades 5 and 8, state accountability science proficiency status and score improvement.
  • At high school, junior performance on the ACT as measured by the percent of students on track to meet college readiness benchmarks.
  • 95 percent participation in state assessments.
  • At the high school level, four-year and extended graduation rates.
  • Reduction of chronic absenteeism (absent 10 percent or more of membership days).
  • Progress towards English Language proficiency. 

Lincoln Public Schools has received final classifications for 51 of 57 schools (six classifications are pending). Of the 51 final classifications, 48 are “good” or higher.

While pleased overall with LPS progress, Larson emphasized that as a school district “we are committed to improving our accountability scores and ensuring that every student graduates from high school, college, career and civic ready.”

Larson also noted that ACT scores – now used for what is called “college-readiness” for students in grade 11 – showed a decrease from 2017 to 2018. Larson said: “It is too early to determine if the decrease is a trend or an anomaly. In either case, improvement is necessary and the respective curricular areas are analyzing the data and making program adjustments.”

Graduation rates

The state made some changes this year in formulas used to determine school district graduation rates, so it is problematic to make comparisons. However, LPS graduation rates are noteworthy.

The graduation rate under the state accountability system is a weighted computation with 51 percent based on the 4-year graduation rate (83 percent) and 49 percent based on the extended 7-year graduation rate (90 percent). Under this system the LPS combined high school graduation rate is 86.54 percent.

LPS also utilizes a second formula to calculate graduation, designed to be a measure of the impact of attending high school at LPS. This means that students who transfer into LPS after 9th grade from another school district are not included in the data. The LPS method of calculating the high school graduation rate results in a 2018 graduation rate of 84.3 percent, compared to 85.2 percent for the class of 2017, a decrease of 0.9. However, the state changed the definition for graduation. Prior to the class of 2018, the state counted students with alternative diplomas, but did not this year – and 0.8 of the 0.9 decrease in this LPS graduation rate is attributable to that change.

The school district’s dropout rate decreased from 6.2 percent in 2017 to 4.3 percent in 2018. The percent of students who failed to graduate, but who continued to attend LPS increased from 8.6 percent in 2017 to 10.6 percent of students in 2018.

Visit the Nebraska Department Education's website to view Lincoln Public Schools' Nebraska Education Profile.

Published: December 21, 2018, Updated: January 3, 2019