In an October report to the public, Clinton School Superintendent Joe Fisher released a statement outlining the district’s score for the 2018 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Index and Accountability Reports. The reports, which include date from the 2017 and 2018 school years, include the results of the 2018 ACT Aspire results.

Clinton Elementary, Junior High and High Schools all received a “B” score, at 74.36, 75.09 and 70.79, respectively. The Junior High, at 75.09, was 0.05 percent from earning an “A” score. This was the second time Clinton had tested under the ESSA scoring index, a program which began last year, which included such factors as “student growth” in determining final scores.

ESSA replaces the “No Child Left Behind Act” and is designed to give school districts greater flexibility in creating an education system.

The ESSA Index measures a total of five student indicators: Achievement, growth, English learning progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rate, and school quality and student success.

Scoring for the test was based on a fairly complex formula which factored in the students grade against scholastic achievement and – and term repeated throughout the test criteria – growth.

The use of “growth,” Fisher explained, was “the amount of achievement from the previous year to the current year.” One example was a student who might arrive at Clinton Schools after attending a lower-achieving school system. That student’s improvement in the various measures, such as higher science scores, over the coming year would improve the student growth score.

Lowering of growth, in turn a lower growth score, as a further example, would be a student who misses a lot of classes, Fisher said. The ESSA outline specifically calls out “chronic absenteeism” as a factor in lowering the score.

“If they’re not here we can’t educate them,” Fisher said.

Efforts being brought into play this year to help improve future district score included the implementation of Professional Learning Committees, for teachers, and Student Mentoring, Fisher said.

Fisher added that the nature of the ESSA index did not include programs promoting student growth which are working well in Clinton such as its Ag and football programs.