Academically Deficient Schools

Fast Facts #1
The Rule for Determining
Academically Deficient Schools


What is the Academically Deficient School Rule?

The Outstanding Schools Act of 1993 (OSA) provided the authority for the rule for determining academically deficient schools and general guidelines for its implementation. The intent was to identify and provide support for those schools where student success was not evident. The rule for determining academically deficient schools became effective on September 30, 1999.

What does the law (OSA) authorize?

Section 9.3 directed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a procedure and criteria for identifying an “academically deficient school” using the results from the new assessment system. That assessment system is known as the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP).

So what does the rule do?

The rule defines key terms, sets the criteria for an academically deficient school and identifies the process to be followed.

The key terms are:

  • School – a grouping of grade levels designated as a school and assigned a number by DESE.
  • Concerned school – any school which meets the criteria developed.
  • State-determined academically deficient school – a concerned school whose MAP results for two (2) consecutive testing years place the school in the lowest fifty (50) schools using the MAP criteria.
  • Locally determined academically deficient school – any school whose graduation rate is below 65% and has 15% or more of its students performing at Step 1 or Progressing and is determined to be academically deficient by the local school board.
  • Certificated staff member – any member of the certificated staff during the year the tests were given, the results of which caused the school to be declared academically deficient.
  • Contributing teacher – any certificated staff member in an academically deficient school or who taught students prior to their entering that school or whose students perform poorly for two (2) or more years as determined by local board of education policy.

The criteria for determining an academically deficient school are:

  1. an average graduation rate (over the three most recent years) that is one standard deviation below the mean graduation rate and
  2. more than 15% of the students of the school achieve at the Step 1 or Progressing level on the MAP. Both criteria must be present for the designation to be applied.

In addition, the rule only allows five (5) schools to be identified as academically deficient from any one school district during a year and no more than ten (10) schools from any one school district can be identified over a two year period.

What happens if a school is designated a “concerned school?”

  • Each year, up to fifty (50) lowest performing schools according to the established criteria will be identified as “concerned schools” by the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.
  • Within sixty (60) days of being designated as a “concerned school”, the State Board of Education (SBOE) shall appoint an audit team of at least ten (10) people and designate the chairperson of the team.
  • The audit team has 120 days to determine the factors that contributed to the lack of student achievement and make a report to the SBOE.
  • The SBOE shall declare any school which an audit team finds academically deficient to be academically deficient.
  • The SBOE shall, within 60 days of the declaration, appoint a management team of at least ten (10) people.
  • Within sixty (60) days of their appointment, the management team shall study the audit report and make recommendations for improvements.
  • Funds from the “statewide areas of critical need” will be available to fund the operation of the management teams and provide resources specified by the management team.
  • The school remains as academically deficient until a second educational audit is conducted at least two (2) years after the year of the filing of the management team’s report.

What happens if the school is still found to be academically deficient?

If the school is found to be academically deficient after the second educational audit, then:

  • The local board may suspend, after due process, the indefinite contracts of “contributing teachers.”
  • The Commissioner of Education may conduct a recall election of board members.
  • The local board may NOT grant tenure to any probationary teacher until one (1) year after the academically deficient school designation is lifted.
  • The local board may NOT issue new contracts or renew contracts to either the superintendent or the principal for a period of longer than one (1) year.

Is this the only process for being found academically deficient?

No. Recent legislation gave local boards of education the power to designate a school as academically deficient if more than 15% of the students in the school are performing at the Step 1 or Progressing level on the MAP.

If a local board of education finds a school to be academically deficient, the board may suspend or terminate contracts of contributing teachers, principals and any administrators having responsibility for the school. The local board may reconstitute the school with new teachers and administrative staff.


It is imperative that Missouri NEA members be aware of the performance status of their school, participate in supporting school improvement efforts and document their instructional support for student learning.

For further information on this issue or any professional development issue, contact Dee Ann Aull, MNEA Teaching and Learning Director at 1-800-392-0236.



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