Test scores used to measure student success show an increase last year for Columbia Public Schools. The district raised its Annual Performance Report, or APR, score by nine points, though the state cautioned against comparing it to previous years.

Scores, which were released Thursday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, showed 540 of 554 schools — 97.5 percent — receiving an APR score of 70 percent or above. Percentages “reflect accreditation levels for school districts,” with 70 percent accrediting the district, not including charter schools.

“It shows that we’re making growth and improving over time, so that’s certainly something to celebrate,” district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

Baumstark said the district uses internal assessments to measure growth. These measurements can be seen on the district’s scorecard, available online.

“And I think some of our investment in those things is what you’re seeing coming out with our improvement in our overall APR,” Baumstark said.

Overall APR scores are based on standards from the Missouri School Improvement Program 5, also known as the MSIP 5. The MSIP 5 has five categories of student performance that comprise the APR score:

  • Academic Achievement: Determined by Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) data.
  • Subgroup Achievement: Determined by performance by students identified as subgroups, like students eligible for free and reduced lunch, etc.
  • High School Readiness (K-8 districts) or College and Career Readiness (K-12 districts, like Columbia).
  • Attendance Rate.
  • Graduation Rate.

Baumstark said she saw the district’s college and career readiness as a point of pride; the district received a 29.5 out of 30, a nearly perfect score. She also highlighted the district’s graduation rate, which received a full 30 points in the APR.

In terms of the attendance rate category, the district is “trying to emphasize and encourage regular attendance,” according to Baumstark.

This year, Columbia Public Schools earned 112 of the total 120 points available for a score of 93.3 percent.

The 2018 APR scores should not be compared to previous years, according to state Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven.

Different tests were taken in English and mathematics this year, which makes comparisons between previous and current scores invalid.

Still, the 2018 APR score is slightly higher than in 2017, when Columbia schools earned 118 of the total 140 points available for a score of 84.3 percent.

The point value of 2018 APR scores is now out of 120 instead of 140 after science tests scores were eliminated from this year’s calculations. Instead of taking a science test that went toward MAP and APR scores, students took a “field test” during the 2017-18 school year.

“New science assessments will be administered during the 2018-19 school year,” according to a news release from DESE.

There was a significant disparity in Columbia Public Schools’ test scores between white and African-American students in 2018. In the mathematics category, 12.4 percent of black students scored in the “proficient” or “advanced” category, compared to 55.1 percent of white, non-Hispanic students in the same two categories.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Baumstark said. “(It’s) definitely an area of focus for us, not only academically but as a community as well. It’s not a new challenge for us.”

Breakdown for Columbia Public Schools’ 2018 APR score

Category for APR score 2018 score: Columbia Public Schools
Academic Achievement (out of 40) 38
Subgroup Achievement (out of 10) 7
College/Career Readiness (out of 30) 29.5
Attendance Rate (out of 10) 7.5
Graduation Rate (out of 30) 30
Total 112 out of 120

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

  • I'm an education reporter studying print and digital editing. Any tips or story ideas can be sent to me at hlht46@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

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