The Results Are In

1 decade 10 months 4 weeks ago Sunday, August 19 2007 Aug 19, 2007 Sunday, August 19, 2007 2:23:59 PM CDT August 19, 2007 in News
Columbia Public Schools is one district in the "Needs Improvement" category. Assistant Superintendent Sally Beth Lyon said the problem falls when the district cannot improve scores in specific needs.

"Under the federal No Child Left Behind law a district or a school is designated as needs improvement if they have missed an Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) target in the same subject area in any sub-group two years in a row," Lyon said.

Columbia Public Schools' special needs students scored below expectations in the communications art subject area.  Parkade Elementary School did not meet mathematics goals among African American students and kids who are on the free and reduced priced lunch program.  Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barnett says the MAP results do not mean the school district plans to make major changes as the school year begins.

"We will not be changing anything in the next four days," she said. "Our curriculum is a very strong curriculum. Our teachers and coordinators look at our curriculum on a regular basis. It's always in an evaluation process."

School districts may not be changing they way they do things now, but they'll have to if they want to meet federal standards in the future. By 2014 school districts are supposed to have 100 percent proficiency. It's a goal Jim Morris of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says is great, but not necessarily attainable.

"On the one hand really nobody disputes the goal," Morris said. "The philosophical premise of No Child Left Behind is that we want to help. We want to serve every child well. But the way the mechanics of the law play out it becomes, what we are really saying is we want every child to be above average, which we know is a statistical improbability."

DESE has assessed schools with standardized tests since 1993. It had to increase standards to meet federal legislation. Schools must meet 32 different standards or they are considered in need of improvement, and some officials say these expectations are unfair. The state breaks down school districts into categories based on the number of students in the district and different minority groups. The larger the district, the more categories.  DESE says it is happy with the 2007 MAP results, but plans on making improvements in the future.

Field Elementary School improved over its 2006 scores and moved off the "Needs Improvement" list. To see summaries and district breakdowns, go to the KOMU story toolbox to view spreadsheets and documents.

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