MAP test scores: Mid-term trends are not-so-good

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Reading results take bigger hits than math

By Todd Martin

The second round of MAP testing scores reviewed during Thursday’s meeting of the Shelby County School Board showed that student learning isn’t progressing as rapidly as district officials would expect them to be.

The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test is given to students three times each year, to help teachers and administration gauge a students progress during the school year and throughout their education in the district. The first test of the year is given in the fall and the final exam will be administered in the spring.

The computerized test, which was created by the Northwest Evaluation Association and tests over a million students nationwide, gives the district an evaluation of where students stand against a national standard.

And a large portion of students in Shelby County took a dip this year in both reading and math scores. In five of 11 grade levels tested – seniors do not take the MAP test – scores dropped in both testing areas.

In reading, the biggest drop-off came from the first-grade class, in which 12 percent fewer students – 57 percent, down from 69 percent – scored at or above grade level.

The results showed:

  • Eighth-grade students, down to 67 percent from 71 percent.
  • Juniors, down to 73 percent from 76 percent.
  • Freshmen down to 65 percent from 66 percent.
  • Sophomores stayed the same at 77 percent.

Deputy Superintendent Lisa Smith, who presented the scores, labeled the first-grade class as a “significant concern” and said the lack of growth and in middle school, which saw between just 2 and 3 percent growth, and high school as something that needs to “be monitored.”

Despite those struggles, there were some positive gains across the district.

The second-grade class saw in increase of 11 percent, up to 62 percent from 51 percent, and the third-grade class was up 10 percent to 67 percent.

Other areas of gain in reading were:

  • Fourth-graders, up 3 percent to 70 percent.
  • Fifth-graders, up 6 percent to 69 percent.

Better in math

In math, the district saw much of the same, although fewer big losses.

The district saw drops in the number of students on grade level in five of 11 grades.

The current third- and fourth-grade classes each fell 5 percent, with 52 percent and 58 percent now on grade level, respectively, and the current eighth-grade class had the biggest drop (6 percent), with 57 percent now on grade level.

Those making gains were:

  • First-graders, up 3 percent to 69 percent.
  • Second-graders, up 3 percent to 57 percent.
  • Fifth-graders up, 7 percent to 69 percent.
  • Seventh-graders, up 4 percent to 69 percent.
  • Freshmen, up 2 percent to 61 percent.
  • Juniors, up 1 percent to 70 percent.

Smith said teachers in the classroom most effectively use this midpoint data so they can tailor the rest of the school year to students’ needs.

“We’re working with principals to see what’s working and what isn’t, so we can share that across the district,” she said.