* (Asterisk)

An asterisk in place of data signifies that the student population is less than 10, therefore the data must be suppressed to prevent the possible identification of individual students.  

Academic Achievement Indicator

Academic Achievement indicator uses individual student performance on annual state tests (Smarter Balanced Summative assessment grades 3-8 and the ACT for 11th grade) as a measure of a student’s proficiency on grade level Math and English Language Arts content standards.

Academic growth Indicator

An academic growth indicator uses individual student performance on annual state tests (Smarter Balanced Summative assessment grade 4-8) over a two-year period to determine the amount of improvement of a student’s proficiency on grade level Math and English Language Arts content standards between two consecutive years.

Accountability System

The accountability system uses multiple measures of school success, including academic outcomes, student progress, and school quality, while emphasizing that all students deserve a high-quality and well-rounded education that will prepare them for success. Montana’s Consolidated State Plan under Every Student Succeeds Act.

ACT with Writing

The general math, reading/language arts, and science assessment for academic achievement reporting in Grade 11. For more information about the assessment, read the MontCAS Policies and Procedures for Participation in State Assessments. Additional information on the performance level descriptors for this assessment can be found on the Montana Technical Report Empirical Standard Setting for ACT.

Additional Targeted Support (ATSI)

Schools are identified for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement each year if the school has any student group performing in the lowest 5% of all Montana schools. For more information on ATSI support please visit the OPI Webpage.

Adjusted Participation Rate

All students, including students with disabilities and English Learners, are required to take part in the state assessments with or without accommodations. Students are expected to take part in state assessments in one of three ways:

1.Participate in the general education assessments without accommodations. 2.Participate in the general education assessments with accommodations. 3.Participate in alternate assessments when the participation criteria are met.

The participation rate must be calculated separately for each subject (i.e., reading/language arts, mathematics, and science).  

Students who are medically exempt from the assessment are not included in the adjusted participation rate.  For 2020-2021 this includes all COVID Reason Exemptions.

Administrator

An administrator provides leadership across all areas necessary to run a school. In the Report Cards, administrator refers to two specific positions within the school and/or district: superintendents and principals.

Advanced Level

Advanced level means superior performance on the state assessment.

Alternate Assessment

An alternative assessment is an assessment based on alternative achievement standards which is designed for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who cannot participate in the general assessment even with appropriate accommodations. For more information about the assessment, read the MontCAS Policies and Procedures for Participation in State Assessments.

College & Career Readiness Indicator (CCR)

CCR refers to students having the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to succeed in life after high school, whether that's college or career. This measure is based on benchmarks of success that include academic and content knowledge, cognitive and higher-order thinking strategies, and critical thinking and problem solving. A measure of college & career readiness is used for identifying high schools for support, which uses a combination of academic measures (based on proficiency and college readiness on the ACT statewide administration) and coursework measures (by including a percentage of senior students who are career & technical education (CTE) concentrators or involved in dual enrollment classes).

Comprehensive Support (CSI)

Schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • are in the lowest performing 5% of all Title I schools in the state;
  • have a high school graduation rate of less than 67%; and/or
  • have consistently underperforming student groups.

Every three years, the OPI will identify schools for CSI beginning with the 2018-2019 school year. These schools will develop a Continuous School Improvement Plan and work in partnership with the OPI to implement strategies to overcome challenges in the areas of school climate, school engagement, leadership, professional development and curriculum and standards. For more information please visit the CSI OPI Webpage.

Economic Disadvantage

Economic disadvantage refers to students who are eligible to participate in the Free/Reduced Lunch Program under the National School Lunch Act. 

Emergency Authorization (Administrative Rules of Montana 10.57.107)

A school district that has exhausted all possibilities and remains unable to hire a licensed educator may request to utilize the emergency authorization process. If granted, the Emergency Authorization of Employment allows the district to employ a non-licensed person to teach in that subject area. The district must provide evidence of their due diligence to fill the position with a licensed educator, as well as evidence of the non-licensed person's academic qualifications or significant experience related to the subject area. The authorization is valid for one year and is non-renewable. 

English Learner

A student who has been impacted linguistically by their environment, who is identified as having limitations in their social and academic English language proficiency, and whose English language proficiency denies them the ability to meet the challenging state academic standards or the ability to fully participate and successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English.  Please visit the English Learners OPI webpage for more information along with the English Learner Guidance For School Districts.

English Learner Progress Indicator

English Learner Progress refers to evaluating English Learners' (EL) growth from one point in time to another. It considers how language growth impacts their mastery of the regular curriculum and graduation rates. Based on research, the OPI has determined that students growing at least 0.5 points on the composite score on the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) access test each year should attain English language proficiency within five years. The OPI’s definition of progress is any student who shows a 0.5-point growth on their composite score from the previous year.

Enrollment or Enrollment Count

Enrollment or Enrollment Count - This is the enrollment number that is published at the state for students enrolled as of the Fall/October count date. This number includes all district primary enrollments for public and state funded schools. This enrollment number excludes PK students and those students who were not present for the 11th consecutive pupil instruction day immediately prior to the official count dates in the fall (AKA October collection which is the first Mon. in Oct.) or spring (first Mon. in Feb.). This exclusion is true for all students except those who qualify as homebound students under ARM 10.20.102. Students who have been absent more than 10 consecutive days prior to the official count date must resume attendance on or before the count date in order to be considered enrolled.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act amends Section 8302 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, ESSA replaced No Child Left Behind and continues the nation's national educational law.

In practice, ESSA requires that the OPI submit a state plan for education in Montana. The Montana state plan identifies the accountability system that will be used to make sure all Montana's students are served and being prepared for the future. ESSA does outline areas each state must focus on but supports a more holistic approach to student and school success that allows the state to integrate its own indicators into its accountability system.

Full Time Equivalent (FTE)

The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis. The concept is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees.

Graduation Rate Indicator

Calculations are based on the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate for all students and for each student group.

High Priority District

This refers to a district that has a majority of schools identified for Comprehensive Support. Because of this designation, support is delivered through a systemic district level approach. 

Ineffective Teacher

An ineffective teacher is either not licensed or shows a pattern of ineffective practices as determined by a local evaluation. 

Inexperienced Teacher

An inexperienced teacher or administrator has less than one year of teaching experience in Montana. 

LEA Membership

All district enrollments including Primary enrollments, students attending a school in the LEA, students placed in private schools by the LEA an funded by the LEA, or by its grantees or subcontractors, even if they are not counted in the membership for any school in the LEA;excluding excludeFallANB10DayAbsent=0, students given vouchers to attend private schools, foreign exchange students and students placed by their parents in private schools whose tuition is paid for by their parents, but who receive special education services from their home district.

Medical Exemptions

All students, including students with disabilities and English Learners, are required by state and federal law to take part in the state assessments with or without accommodations. Generally, if a student can receive instruction, then they are also able to participate in state assessments. In extraordinary circumstances (e.g., medical emergency), individual students may be exempt in the participation rate calculations for the purpose of determinations under the accountability process. When a student cannot be tested at any time throughout the published test windows they are counted as a non-participant unless the reason is due to a significant medical emergency. Non-participation for any other reason will negatively impact the adjusted participation rate calculation. For more information about this policy, read the MontCAS Policies and Procedures for Participation in State Assessments.

Methodology

Montana’s comprehensive accountability system that assigns weighted scores to schools based on performance indicators for the grades of students they serve.

  • Federally Required Indicators
    • Academic Achievement-proficiency on statewide mathematics and ELA assessments
    • Academic Growth
    • English Learner Progress-applied to all schools with 10 or more English Learners
    • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Montana Flexibility Indicators
  • Satisfactory Attendance
  • College and Career Ready
  • STEM Indicator: Proficiency on statewide science assessment
  • School Survey of program quality indicators for improving school climate, reducing behavior issues, and increasing engagement (Under Development)

Military-Connected Students

Military-Connected students are those who have a parent or guardian who is a member of the Armed Forces on active duty. 

Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA)

The alternate math and reading/language arts assessment for academic achievement reporting in Grades 3–8 and 11 for students with significant cognitive disabilities. For more information about the assessment, read the MontCAS Policies and Procedures for Participation in State Assessments. Additional information on the performance level descriptors for this assessment can be found on the MSAA website.

Nearing Proficiency Level

Nearing proficiency level means a student has partial mastery of the prerequisite knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at each benchmark as demonstrated on the state assessment.

Novice Level

Novice level means a student is beginning to attain the prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for work at each benchmark as demonstrated on the state assessment.

Out of Field Teacher

Out of field refers to any licensed Montana teacher teaching outside an endorsed subject area. 

Per Pupil Expenditure (PPE)

The per pupil expenditure (PPE) is the amount of federal, state and local funds expended per pupil, disaggregated by source of funds.  PPE is calculated at the state, district and school levels on an annual basis starting with the 2018-2019 school year.  Please visit the per pupil expenditure page for more information about exclusions, methodology and other reporting requirements.

Percent Progress

Percent progress refers to the percentage of students that showed progress from year to year. 

Performance Standard

Performance standard means the specific expectations for performance in each content area at each of the three benchmarks. Performance standards define the quality of performance and describe the performance to be demonstrated.

Proficient Level

Proficient level means solid academic performance for each benchmark, reaching levels of demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter as demonstrated on the state assessment.

Provisional License

This three-year license may be issued to an individual who previously completed a bachelor's degree with a regionally accredited college or university, and now wants to become an educator. The application process begins with a plan of study from the college or university that the individual will be working through to obtain an educator degree. The plan must confirm that:

  1. the program will be completed in three years; and
  2. that it will result in educator licensure.

The provisional license then allows the individual to be employed in the classroom, teaching in the subject area while finishing the educator preparation program.

Science Assessment Indicator

The general and alternate science assessment for academic achievement reporting in Grades 5, 8, and 11.  For more information about the assessment, read the MontCAS Policies and Procedures for Participation in State Assessments. Additional information on the performance level descriptors for this assessment can be found on the Montana science website after validation and standards-setting activities in the summer of 2022.

SEA Membership

All district enrollments including primary enrollments, students placed in private schools by the state and funded by the state, students participating in a pre kindergarten program that is administered directly by the SEA, or by its grantees or subcontractors, even if they are not counted in the membership of any LEAs or schools in the state, and Head Start numbers; and excluding excludeFallANB10DayAbsent=0, students given vouchers to attend private schools, foreign exchange students and students placed by their parents in private schools whose tuition is paid for by their parents, but who receive special education services from their home district.  For the purposes of the repot card State Funded entities are not included in this count.  This is due to the nature of how expenditures are tracked within these organizations.

Smarter Balanced

The general math and reading/language arts assessment for academic achievement reporting in Grades 3–8. For more information about the assessment, read the MontCAS Policies and Procedures for Participation in State Assessments. Additional information on the performance level descriptors for this assessment can be found on the Smarter Balanced website.

Student Group

This refers to a group of students identified by a particular characteristic. The student groups used for the accountability system include economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups (White, American Indian, and Hispanic), children with disabilities and English learners. Using specific data about individual student groups helps to identify and overcome obstacles.

Targeted Support (TSI)

A public schools will be identified if any student group has performed at a level equivalent to the performance of all students in the lowest performing 5 percent of schools for three years in a row (i.e. consistently underperforming student group). This designation will begin once there is three constant years of data to evaluate.

Universal Support

Schools are identified as Universal if they do not perform in the bottom five percent on statewide assessments and have a graduation rate above 67 percent, both school-wide and for specific student groups. 

Waiver

On March 30, 2020, the OPI received the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) approval for the 2019-2020 school year universal waivers for provisions under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), reauthorized as the Every Students Succeed Act (ESSA). In accordance with Section 8401 of ESEA-ESSA, the Department waived the federal statutory and regulatory requirements for state testing, accountability, and reporting for the 2019-2020 school year. On March 26, 2021, the OPI secured the accountability and reporting waivers offered by the Department.