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COLUMBIA – It's a case of good news, bad news for Columbia Public Schools in its latest performance results from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The data comes from DESE’s Annual Performance Report which focuses on five aspects in school districts: academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career ready (CCR), attendance and graduation rate.

Compared to 2016 data results, CPS slightly decreased by 2.5 percent, going from 86.8 percent to 84.3 percent.

CPS Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said the school district thinks this is due to slight changes in testing last year.

“The EOC, which is end of course exams for both Algebra and English, had to be thrown out,” she said. “And so for us, the impact of that is seen in the reduction of our overall score.”

DESE Communications Coordinator Sarah Potter said a decrease in performance from a school district isn’t always a bad thing.

“A point here and there either way is not especially concerning,” she said. “But if you see a trend of a couple of years in a downward movement, that’s when we would really be concerned. And we do watch those very carefully.”

Baumstark pointed out the school district did increase in college and career readiness and subgroup areas.

“It is promising that we see increases,” she said. “But it’s not as dramatic as we’d like to see, so that gap still persists for us.”

Baumstark said for next year, the school district not only wants to focus on improving test scores but also improving attendance.

“We really want to have a focus on improving those attendance, we really need those students to come to school,” she said. “We’ll be looking what some options are for how we might better entice our students to come to school.”  

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