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Students' ACT Scores Linked to MRH Curriculum, Official Says

The presentation about standardized-test data happened Dec. 15 during a meeting of the Maplewood Richmond Heights Board of Education.

students who perform well on the ACT college-preparatory test generally have higher GPAs, a data analysis shows.

"It's not highly predictive, but it says our curriculum has an alignment to the ACT," said Dr. Margaret Scordias, the district's director of assessment, during a presentation to the Board of Education .

Yet students can get good grades in spite of a lower ACT score because of the "differentiated learning" offered by the district, Scordias said. While she had not anticipated a higher correlation between the two numbers, she said she was surprised by the number of students with mid-range GPAs with lower than projected ACT scores.

"We have some more work to do with the ACT," said Dr. Linda Henke, the district's superintendent. Literacy is a "huge piece" of the test and is getting renewed focus at MRH High School, she said. Students are reading about a variety of subjects with an emphasis on nonfiction.

State assessment data reviewed
The communication arts scores of students with disabilities have jumped above and below state averages over the last several years, Scordias said. That's because of the small numbers of students in these classes, she said.

While Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) data show a consistent dip in scores in third grade when compared to the state average, scores for the sixth grade are higher than expected.

"We aren't doing worse than the state in general," she said.

Overall, communication arts scores improved between 2007 and 2011 at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Meanwhile, this year marked the first time more than 50 percent of students at all of those schools attained proficiency in mathematics.

Henke said the uniform growth is the result of the district's curriculum, "not just a couple of good teachers here and there."

At its next meeting, the board will review the scores of students who receive free or reduced-cost lunches.

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