JOPLIN, Mo. —
Missouri students, including those in Southwest Missouri, showed mixed results on the most recent standardized achievement tests.
Statewide data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education show the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced on the Missouri Assessment Program tests in math declined in 2013, but remained steady in communication arts and improved in science.
State Board of Education Chairman Peter Herschend said the scores show that Missouri schools are not making as much progress as he would like.
MAP tests are given annually at all Missouri public schools for students in grades three through 12. Communication arts, math and science assessments are given to students through grade eight, while required end-of-course exams for high school students include English, algebra, biology and government.
The test scores are among the measures used to develop Annual Performance Reports, which determine school districts’ accreditation. The state department has said no changes in accreditation classifications are expected this year.
Test scores in Joplin were mixed, particularly at the high school level, with scores increasing from those of the previous year in the biology and English tests and decreasing slightly in the algebra and government tests.
While scores declined at the elementary school grade levels in math and remained flat in English, notable gains were posted primarily in the science tests, and across the middle school grade levels in English and math.
“We’re really pleased overall,” said Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer. “When you look at the district as a whole, we see gains. In any given year, you’re going to have your ups and downs.”
She said the district looks at information beyond the surface MAP scores, trying to determine whether students improve from basic to proficient to advanced from year to year or whether the percentage of students scoring “below basic” on the tests is decreasing.