Perfect score earned by Mehlville School District on MSIP Report

By Alyson E. Raletz

The Mehlville School District earned all 100 points in the preliminary Missouri School Improvement Program Performance Report, meeting district performance requirements in all categories.

Points were based on student performance in the 2003 Missouri Assessment Program tests — the same tests that determined this year’s Adequate Yearly Progress reports.

But Mehlville did not meet AYP standards. The state uses AYP to determine how districts are measuring up to the No Child Left Behind Act that mandates every student be proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Missouri chose MAP tests to be the indicator of AYP performance.

Superintendent Tim Ricker said he is frustrated that the same MAP tests can offer the district a seal of approval, ac-cording to MSIP scores, and just the opposite with AYP.

“I am extremely pleased with this. This is from the hard work on the part of our staff and more importantly on our kids, which is part of my frustration,” Ricker said. “I am extremely proud of our performance … And regardless of any standards that anyone else is putting on us, we’re working hard to improve and we will continue to do that, regardless of any of this.”

Ricker intends to use these preliminary MSIP scores in a letter, on behalf of the district, he is sending to the Missouri Board of Education asking it to re-evaluate state standards in regard to AYP.

In the letter, he said he plans to address state proficiency standards in comparison to other states, which puts Missouri on an unequal playing field. He said he was waiting for the district’s perfect MSIP scores to show that AYP was not a good indicator of the improvement and success the district truly is making.

Also, Cynthia Lynch, assistant superintendent of student services, reported on other student assessment matters at the Board of Education meeting on Sept. 29.

She reported that all Mehlville MAP scores were above state averages. The district’s overall proficiency in communication arts is 31.4 percent, while the state AYP goals is 19.4 percent. Overall district proficiency in math is 24.8 percent while the AYP standards is 9.3 percent.

She told board members in each tested grade level, the district is able to identify strengths and weaknesses and steps are being taken to use this data to assist in the classroom. Also, there is more MAP score analysis to be performed, she said.

She also reported that the district’s overall composite ACT score is 21.4. For those students who take a core, college preparatory curriculum, the district’s average ACT score is 22.2. Both scores are above national averages. Lynch reported that Mehlville students who took the ACT tended to score a little higher in reading and science than in math and English.

She told board members that administrators are working to increase the availability of ACT preparation courses and computerized ACT preparation programs for students. Administrators are exploring ways to align Mehlville’s curriculum with ACT standards and they plan to analyze the test scores in more detail.