Conference Meets to Close Achievement Gap

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public School District gathered together parents and professionals Thursday to discuss the closing of the district's achievement gap--a discrepancy which has become more apparent since assessment scores released in August showed a growing space in student performance.

In August, scores on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) showed 55 percent of Columbia students as proficient in communications arts, with 54.7 percent proficient in math. 

However, minority students displayed signs of struggling, with only less than a fourth of Black students and 38.3 percent of Hispanics attaining proficient scores in communication arts.

Columbia School Districts publically acknowledged the low scores when the scores were released.

Administrators said there are several options to close the gap. Among the suggestions were the increase of high quality preschool education.

Administrators also said they want to provide emotional and educational opportunities from cradle to career.

But, Columbia Public School District superintendent Chris Belcher says he just wants education for all children.