More than half of Missouri students fail to reach English and math targets, but English language learners make noticeable improvements

This year’s standardized test scores for Missouri’s K through 12 public schools show more than half of students are not meeting their grade level in English and about 58% of students are not reaching math targets. The figures represent slight increases from last year. But Chris Neale, Assistant Commissioner of Quality Schools, says English language learners have been noticeably improving in English and math over the past few years.

“At this point, we are seeing probably between three and four percentage point gains since 2015 and greater than once percentage point gain since last year,” says Neale.

Asian students continue to lead in test scores with 63% meeting targets in Math and English, compared to their white counterparts testing at 55% in English and 48% in Math. About 39% of Hispanic students reached their grade potential in English and about 33% in Math. African-American students continue to struggle with 25% being proficient in English and 18% being proficient in Math.

The state is not releasing science test scores because a new exam was used this year. Social studies scores were also not included because the state says students were given a baseline test used to develop future exams.

Missouri uses performance report cards, which include standardized test scores, attendance, graduation rates and college and career readiness, to determine the accreditation level of districts. Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven says the state has not released the traditional numeric performance scores for school districts because it is preparing for a new version of its accountability system. She says the move is temporary.

“People started to ask the question ‘Well what does a 94% really mean?’ So we took that question quite literally and sat there and decided that our best course of action for this year would be to provide the data so that you can actually look at how our kids are performing,” says Vandeven.

How temporary the transition be is unclear.

The department is instead giving data that could take parents more time to figure out. The system is a color-coded range of below, meeting and exceeding expectations measures district achievement.

To view the data, click here.

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