Francis Howell school district recently posted Missouri School district rankings from Niche.com claiming that we are #8 in the state.
A simple review of this report shows:
- The Niche.com site, supposedly updated for 2022, uses our old test scores from 2019 where 68% of our students were grade level proficient in English and 65% in Math.
- Our latest published scores from 2021 show that our scores tumbled to 63% in English and 53% in Math.
The drop in Math scores were particularly troublesome: we now have roughly 2000 fewer students grade-level proficient in Math. Fort Zumwalt leads us in Math scores, which has never happened before.
- Niche does not publish details on their ranking methods sufficient for validation, and they also include subjective data such as student and parent surveys.
Another site, moschoolrankings.org, does publish rankings – but with details on their methods, data sources, and their aggregated data sets for download. This site ranks Francis Howell as 52nd in the state. Fort Zumwalt is ranked 36th.
Francis Howell was objectively a top ten school district in the state only a few years ago. We can get back there again, but the first step is to use accurate, up-to-date statistics. We must acknowledge that we have slipped and have a serious problem. We need to set annual benchmarks for recovery of our academic performance and make the superintendent and top administrators’ jobs dependent on meeting them each year.