The Columbia Public School District released scores from the latest round of MAP testing Friday morning.
Missouri school districts are in the process of moving from MAP tests to the Common Core test. That change won't happen for two more years. In the meantime, the federal government wants testing done despite the motion toward the new test. Columbia superintendent Chris Belcher said the inconsistencies in the old and new systems make some results irrelevant.
Results from the 2012-13 round of testing are consistent with other recent years. Only biology and math scores showed significant differences. Biology scores were up 13 points in Columbia, compared with a 20-point increase for the state. Eighth-grade math scores dropped 16 points in Columbia, compared to an 11-point drop for Missouri.
The district says the math scores in particular could be explained by an adjustment made by the state to the algebra portion of the test. Only eighth-graders were allowed to take that portion, the students that didn't take the test were younger and more proficient in the subject.
School officials admit the testing results do show a problem when taking into account a group that includes black students, Hispanic students, students learning English as a second language and students on free or reduced lunch programs. The results from this group show low scores in most subjects, especially in math.
Belcher says the district could make progress in helping these students with more effort on preparing them from younger ages, like in preschool.
The test scores also include results for advanced placement (AP) exams and ACT scores, and in both cases Columbia students scored above the national average.
These tests focus on students getting close to graduation. Seventy-five percent of Columbia senior students took the ACT, and only those in AP classes took the AP exams.