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Missouri Shoots For Top With Proposed Education Changes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -  Missouri is proposing sweeping accreditation changes for its public schools that would add new statewide tests, including an end-of-high-school exam, and require districts to better monitor how their graduates fare in college.

The newest version of the Missouri School Improvement Program would focus solely on how students perform academically.

The state would no longer take into account such things as the ratios of students to teachers, administrators and counselors, and whether districts offer certain courses such as art and physical education.

Districts also would be reviewed annually instead of once every five years and would be required to report a host of new details on everything from their early childhood programs to the percentage of students completing federal financial aid forms.

Michele Clark, a spokeswoman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the direction the state is heading is “really exciting.”

The State Board of Education gave initial approval this month to the plan, which is revised every five years.

The latest changes are part of an effort to move Missouri toward being ranked among the top 10 states in educational performance.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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