Despite MAP successes, Mehlville ‘in need of improvement’

District reports positive news about high school ACT scores

By BURKE WASSON

While the Mehlville School District exceeded state testing standards in seven of eight student subgroups for the second straight year, the district is “in need of improvement” under the provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

District officials recently learned that one of eight district subgroups did not meet Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, standards in the content areas of communication arts and math.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandates that failure to meet those standards in just one student subgroup for two consecutive years labels that school district as a “district in need of improvement.”

The district has eight student subgroups — Total, Asian, Black, Hispanic, White, Free and Reduced Lunch, Individualized Education Plan and Limited English Proficiency. While one subgroup failed to meet MAP testing standards, administrators report that district students as a whole exceeded them.

The state’s MAP testing goals this year were 42.9 percent in communication arts and 35.8 percent in math.

District students exceeded both of the goals, with 50.5 percent of all district students scoring proficient or higher in communication arts and 55.2 percent of students performing proficient or higher in math.

But in a letter sent to district parents by Superintendent Terry Noble, the superintendent states that the failure to meet the No Child Left Behind standard of all student subgroups scoring proficiently will force the district to seek improvements.

“We will be revising our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan to focus on the need to improve the performance of the identified subgroup of students in the area of Communication Arts,” Noble wrote in the letter. “While we will pay particular attention to this group, the Mehlville R-IX School District is committed to improving the academic achievement of all of our students. To ensure this occurs, we will continue to provide early intervention and remediation opportunities for students.

“The interventions are delivered in several formats including but not limited to A+ Tutoring, before and after school tutoring by faculty members, student mentoring programs, homework intervention clubs, and modified and collaboratively taught classes for students in need of academic support.

“Literacy coaches will provide our faculty with specialized training in reading, writing, and learning strategies. Finally, we will continue to look at best practices in other schools both inside and outside our district to seek new ways to improve student achievement,” Noble wrote.

School districts statewide also will be preparing for increased expectations on test scores, including one provision that all students — not just subgroups — must meet testing standards by the year 2014.

As far as individual schools in the district, three did not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress set forth by No Child Left Behind for MAP scores — Mehlville Senior High School, Buerkle Middle School and Oakville Middle School, all of which had one subgroup fail to meet testing standards in communication arts.

The district also recently reported positive news about the results of another form of testing — the American College Test, or ACT.

Of a total of 596 Mehlville School District students who took the ACT test earlier this year, the district attained a composite ACT score of 21.8 — just above the state average of 21.6.

While district students as a whole outperformed the state average on ACT testing, one of the district’s two high schools did not.

A total of 266 Mehlville Senior High School students attained a composite score of 21.3, below the state average of 21.6.

As for Oakville Senior High School, a total of 330 students reached a composite ACT score of 22.2.

While district students exceeded state ACT average scores in math and science, they performed below state average scores in English and reading.

A breakdown of the two high schools also shows that Oakville Senior High School’s composite score in each of the ACT test’s four sections exceeded state averages while Mehlville Senior High School students’ composite scores were below the state average in three of the four sections.

Those three deficient ACT performances at Mehlville Senior High School were scoring 20.7 in English compared to a state average of 21.5, scoring 21.6 in reading compared to a state average of 22.1 and scoring 21.3 in science compared to a 21.5 state average.

Mehlville Senior High students exceeded the ACT state average for math, scoring 21.2 compared to the state average of 21.

As for Oakville Senior High students, they achieved a 21.9 in English, a 22 in math, a 22.4 in reading and a 21.9 in science.