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Vol. 45, No. 58

August  4, 2011

Student MAP Scores Continue Slow Climb

Education data released in new interactive system

Missouri students are making steady academic gains, and state education officials say they are generally pleased with the overall performance on this year’s Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests.  

Preliminary results released today by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education show the percentages of students throughout the state in grades 3-12 testing “Proficient” or “Advanced” on MAP tests rose in all grade levels and all subjects except for one – eighth-grade mathematics stayed relatively flat after making solid gains the past two years.

At the high school level, mathematics and science scores saw the most progress this year.  The percentage of students statewide scoring “Proficient” or “Advanced” on mathematics end-of-course exams (for Algebra I) grew by 2.4 points to 59.7 percent, while science (for Biology) grew the most with a 3.9 percentage-point gain, increasing the total to 60.6 percent “Proficient” or “Advanced.”

These results, along with additional information, are available through the Missouri Comprehensive Data System, the Department’s new online data portal. This interactive website provides state and local public education data dating back to 2006.

“The trend is positive and reflects the efforts of teachers and administrators in schools across the state,” said Margie Vandeven, assistant commissioner for the Office of Quality Schools.  “We need to keep striving for higher achievement and faster growth.”

This year’s gains were not enough to help most Missouri schools meet the escalating Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets that are required under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.  Missouri’s AYP proficiency targets for student achievement will increase by 8 percentage points annually, on a pace to reach the federal goal of 100 percent proficiency by the year 2014. 

Missouri’s federal accountability targets this year are 75.5 percent proficiency in communication arts and 72.5 percent in mathematics.  As a result, the number of school buildings that were able to achieve the state’s AYP goals declined since last year from 35.3 percent to 18.1 percent.

“Missouri schools are making progress in the core academic areas, but the rate of improvement is not rapid enough to meet the ever-increasing targets that are set under the federal accountability system,” Vandeven said.  “As the AYP targets get closer to the No Child Left Behind goal, it is virtually certain that all schools across the state and nation will be labeled as ‘needing improvement’ by 2014.”

State officials are monitoring national efforts to reauthorize the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as well as a potential NCLB waiver program that is being proposed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Final federal and state accountability reports will be issued in September.