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Math and English Still a Challenge for Missouri Schools

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) __ Missouri students scored higher this year on the state’s annual English and math exams, but relatively few school districts met rising federal targets for annual progress.

Test scores released by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Thursday show that a higher percentage of students met the state’s proficiency standards for English and math this year, with 54.6 percent reaching the standard for English and 54.2 percent for math. That is 1 percentage point better in English and 1.5 percentage points better in math than last year.

Margie Vandeven, the assistant commissioner of education, said the improvements show a sustainable trend, but she said only 16 percent of Missouri’s more than 500 school districts met the yearly progress target.

The targets this year in Missouri called for 75.5 percent of students to be proficient in English and 72.5 percent to be proficient in math. The entire student body must meet the targets,
and so must each group of students that are identified by ethnicity, family income and special education.

The targets are set to rise every year until 2014 when all students are required to be proficient. Some school officials said the increasing targets have become difficult to reach. Numerous
states have worked to develop their own standards for measuring and assessing schools.

The current system “is failing to provide an accurate picture of which schools are truly in need of improvement and which are performing well,” said Brent Ghan, a spokesman for the Missouri School Boards’ Association. He said Missouri schools have continued to improve despite many facing tighter budgets in recent years.

Copyright The Associated Press

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