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20 Missouri School Districts Request Pilot for Meaningful Assessments, Accountability in Missouri Public Education

School district leaders in the Success-Ready Students Network made a presentation to the Missouri State Board of Education in June 2023, requesting board approval for a three-year waiver that will support the creation of a more meaningful way to measure learning, demonstrate individual student growth and influence future success for Missouri students.

Liberty Public Schools is proud to join this network of 20 “System Design Zone” public school districts from across the state that are requesting to pilot an alternative, growth-based student assessment to replace the MAP test, and ultimately implement a better accountability system as well.

The Success-Ready Students Workgroup was commissioned by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2022, and this group’s recommendations led to the creation of the Success-Ready Students Network, which has been working in collaboration with DESE to create the Demonstration Project that was presented to the state board on June 6, 2023. The Demonstration Project includes a School Innovation Waiver request under Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 161.214, and is based on the Missouri definition for competency-based learning, to create a model and approach that can ultimately benefit students throughout the state.

Included in the project is a focus on real-world learning, an area in which Liberty Public Schools has seen tremendous growth and success in recent years. Real-world learning incorporates internships, client-connected projects, industry-recognized credentials, college credit and entrepreneurial experiences into student coursework.

“As part of our recent strategic planning work, it has been our goal to have each graduate of LPS to have a market value asset upon graduation, beginning with our graduating Class of 2025,” said LPS Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Tucker. “We have seen firsthand the value of these rich real-world learning opportunities for our students. The work of the Success-Ready Students Network aligns with our vision for how we see all of our students thriving in LPS and beyond."

"Students are at the center of this work," said Dr. Mike Fulton, Success-Ready Students Network facilitator. "We want to focus on learning, and make sure that this work honors all children in Missouri, developing approaches that meet all of their needs to become high school, college, career and workplace ready."

The current state assessment is designed to provide system-level feedback, and the accountability system, MSIP 6, measures school district performance using lagging indicators. The goal of the Success-Ready Students Network is to shift to better tools that provide ongoing feedback to students, teachers and parents, and support continuous improvement for school districts.

“This work brings real-world learning to all classrooms in Missouri — to all kids, in all aspects, in all corners of our state," said Jenny Ulrich, superintendent of Lonedell R-14 School District. "It engages each student as part of the process through interim assessments several times a year, versus a one-time test. This is a shift that allows deeper engagement of students in their own learning journey, and that is a huge key. In order to address these needs and these purposes, we need new tools. We are asking for the ability to use leading indicators versus lagging indicators. We would like to have data in real-time to help drive instructional decisions for our kids, which in turn engages students in their own learning journey. And that’s what we’re asking for our kids.”

The Missouri State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the Demonstration Project with Waiver Request in August. If approved, the work of the System Design Zone districts in the Success-Ready Students Network would begin this fall and continue through the 2025-26 school year.

Even with state board approval, participants would next need to seek federal approval to receive a MAP testing waiver, but the focus on implementing a new system focused on real-time student data is not contingent on that waiver.

Some of the key components of a new measurement system would include:

  • Measuring student growth multiple times throughout the school year
  • Immediate, timely feedback for the student, teacher and parents
  • Student awareness of where they are and engagement in setting future goals
  • Active student learning using different pathways and varied pacing
  • Student progress based on evidence of mastery, not seat time
  • Student engagement in real-world learning experiences that support high school, college, career and workplace readiness

What is the Success-Ready Students Network?

  • The Success-Ready Students Network is a diverse group of 59 Missouri school districts, four universities and 14 state and regional education organizations, working in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Together, they are designing a better way for each student to engage in meaningful learning, demonstrate individual growth and prepare for future success.
  • School districts in the network serve approximately 30 percent of all Missouri students in grades K-12.
  • This work has been made possible so far thanks to financial support from the Kauffman Foundation. Looking ahead, the SRSN has submitted a grant proposal to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to secure funding to continue supporting this important work.
  • For more information about the Success-Ready Students Network, please visit

What is a System Design Zone?

  • System Design Zone districts in the Success-Ready Students Network have been recognized as leaders in the state of Missouri.
  • System Design Zone districts will lead the work and include Affton, Branson, Center, Confluence Academy, Fayette, Lebanon, Lee’s Summit, Lewis County, Liberty, Lindbergh, Lonedell, Mehlville, Neosho, Ozark, Parkway, Pattonville, Raymore-Peculiar, Ritenour, Ste. Genevieve and Shell Knob.

LISTEN: Missouri State Board of Education Meeting from June 2023