CPS middle school math proficiency numbers drop

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COLUMBIA - Middle schoolers beginning of the year math proficiency scores dropped for the second year in a row, according to Columbia Public School district's student achievement report.

The Columbia Board of Education plans to review the report at its meeting Monday night.

CPS Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said the district uses STAR testing as an internal measure to gauge where students are at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.

"We use that data to benchmark students to be able to determine what type of intervention they need throughout the course of a school year in order to be able to see growth and progress," Baumstark said.

The numbers show math proficiency for the middle school classes during fall 2012 was at 77.4 percent, in 2013 dropped to 76.5 percent and in 2014 dropped to 74.8 percent. 

Baumstark said the number can not be measured over multiple years like the state's MAP testing.

"It is really meant to be used to measure an individual student's progress from the start of the school year to the end of the school year. So you can't compare say, for example, 2012-13 data to 2015-16 data. It's different students."

What the data suggests, is not a year-to-year growth comparison, but where middle schoolers stand at the beginning of the school year.

"What we're looking at is various reasons why individual students in the fall might be facing some challenges," Baumstark said. "Then we work with that individual student. We talk about their progress in teams, which is what the report to the board will be about, is that team process that we use in order to help those students make progress before the end of the school year."

She said the report digs into student's yearly progress, and for middle schoolers it's hit a flat-line in some areas.

"If you look at the scores for given years at middle school, we are seeing flat progress," she said. "And so that is an area that we'll be digging into deeper to be able to determine why that is and what types of changes we might be able to make so that students can see broader growth."

Baumstark said the board plans to discuss how CPS is using STAR to measure growth and progress at its meeting Monday night.

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