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Kansas students show greater proficiency in math, reading, science

By KATHLEEN POINTER
The Kansas City Star

Kansas students’ math, reading and science scores are rising, and more school districts are making progress under No Child Left Behind, the Kansas Board of Education learned Tuesday.

Reading proficiency scores hit 87.6 percent, according to the 2011 report, about 1 percentage point higher than a year earlier. Math scores rose 1.6 percentage points to 84.7. Since 2006, that’s an increase of nearly 10 percentage points in reading and nearly 12 percentage points in math.

About 30 percent of Kansas students ranked “exemplary” — the highest of five levels — in reading and math on spring assessment tests. In science, though, about 15 percent of students were exemplary.

The spring assessments also showed that 14.5 percent of students did not meet math standards, 11.5 did not meet reading standards and 10.5 percent did not meet them in science.

Math and reading assessments are given yearly to third- through eighth-graders and in one year of high school. Science is measured in the fourth and seventh grades and once in high school.

Meeting math and reading proficiency helps determine schools’ and districts’ adequate yearly progress under federal No Child Left Behind standards.

This year, 73.3 percent of Kansas districts and 84.3 percent of schools reached AYP goals. Last year, 72 percent and 81.6 percent made AYP.

The report to the Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday also showed a graduation rate of 80 percent, but state officials say the figure does not mean the dropout rate is 20 percent.

The graduation rate is tracked in a new way for this year’s data, following Kansas students starting in the ninth grade and counting how many of that group graduate in the state four years later. Students who move away or take longer to graduate won’t figure into the graduation rate once districts become able to separate those students.

Under the old system, Kansas had a graduation rate of about 89 percent.

Under the new system, the graduation rate for Blue Valley is 95 percent. Shawnee Mission’s and Olathe’s rates were 88 and 89 percent. The rate for Kansas City, Kan., students is about 60 percent.

Graduation rates are supposed to hit at least 80 percent.

To reach Kathleen Pointer, call 816-234-7701 or send email to kpointer@kcstar.com.

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