2019 Missouri Education Profile


2019 Missouri Education Profile

The PRiME Center is pleased to share the 2019 Missouri Education Profile, presenting a 30,000 foot overview of Missouri’s schools and students and the resources supporting them. Follow this link to download a PDF copy for yourself!

The 2019 Missouri Education Profile is the PRiME Center’s first of what we plan to be annual releases. In the report, we present important student success indicators including student test scores, college readiness, and graduation rates. You’ll find information on school spending and teacher pay. For each of these, we’ll show you how Missouri compares to our border states and to the rest of the country and we’ll also examine how these numbers vary for different types of districts within the Show-Me State. We hope that the data on these pages can be useful to parents, practitioners, and policymakers by providing some background and leading to more questions.

However, if you don’t want to follow this link to download the full profile, you can read the Executive Summary in this space:

Who are Missouri’s Students? Students in Missouri are not as diverse as students across the United States. While fewer than half of the students across the nation are White, more than 70% of Missouri students identify as White. Nevertheless, Missouri’s student population has grown more diverse over the past 15 years; in 2003, 78% of the state’s students were White. With respect to poverty, as measured by student eligibility for free- or reduced-price school lunches, students in Missouri (50% FRL) are slightly more advantaged than their peers in the border states (54% FRL) and their peers across the nation (52% FRL).

How Much Do Missouri Schools Spend? With regard to per pupil expenditures, Missouri schools spend approximately $11,000 per pupil, which is roughly $500 less than border states spend and about $1,600 less than the national average.  Similarly, average teacher pay in Missouri is about $3,000 less than in border states, and about $10,000 less than the national average. There are clear differences between types of districts in the state as well: teachers in the largest districts and teachers in districts serving more diverse student bodies earn the highest salaries.

How Are Missouri’s Students Doing? Missouri has undergone a variety of testing and standards changes over the last decade but policymakers have finally settled on state-designed learning standards and a new, more rigorous MAP test. For the 2017-18 school year, 48% and 40% of students statewide met the readiness benchmark in English and Math respectively. Because state-designed exams (like the MAP) do not allow for across-state comparisons, we also examine the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Here, we find Missouri students score right around the national averages in both Math and Reading and have for the past several administrations of these exams.

Most Missouri high school students also take the ACT, another national assessment. On this measure, Missouri students do pretty well as they outscore students in other states which encourage full participation. The story is mixed with respect to Advanced Placement: while a small fraction of Missouri students take AP exams, those students who do so pass the exams at a very high rate. Finally, the state’s high school graduation rate continues to hover well above the national average and that of the border states, as nearly 9 in 10 Missouri students who start high school ultimately graduate.

Of course, if you want to dig in more after reading this summary, click here to view the full report. And keep an eye on this space for future reports.


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Evan Rhinesmith