BOE discusses winter benchmark test scores


TKC Staff

This article describes the events of the regular BOE meeting, not the closed session in which the principal candidate was presented to the board by Superintendent Dr. David Ulrich.

*This article describes the events of the regular BOE meeting, not the closed session in which the principal candidate was presented to the board by Superintendent Dr. David Ulrich. For information on that subject, click here.

After the KSD Board of Education opened its regular, open meeting, it discussed, among other things, the results from KSD’s winter standardized benchmark testing taken by K-8 students on Monday, Jan. 23.

Dr. Bryan Painter, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Dr. Jeremy Mapp executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Matt Bailey, assistant superintendent of student services and Elizabeth Locke, MTSS coordinator and school psychologist presented the BOE test scores from the winter benchmark standardized tests. Data was collected from fall and winter, reviewing if growth had been made in first semester. The data showed that test scores have returned to 2018-2019 levels (the last full school year that was not affected by COVID-19). 

Female students have progressed toward closing the gender gap in math scores. In addition, Black students increased in reading scores for all grades but Kindergarten and first grade since the fall. Black students’ math scores have increased at the middle school level, whereas some elementary grade levels saw growth and others did not. 

The presenters drew attention to the drops in test scores from the fall of Kindergarten to the winter of that same year, elaborating that they were actively looking into why this has occurred, but that it’s not new, and has been present for multiple years preceding 2022.

Dr. Matt Bailey explained that although the benchmark tests do not change throughout the year, the amount of questions answered correctly to “meet the benchmark” does. An 85%, per se, on a child’s reading score in the fall and winter benchmarks, would not mean the child hasn’t made progress, but that they have maintained their pace of progress. 

It was this and other misunderstandings surrounding the test that bothered Board Director Judy Moticka. Moticka, expressed strong discontent with the process of surveying students, saying that “multiple teachers” had come to her frustrated by the benchmarks. Specifically, she stated that she was unhappy that benchmarks did not necessarily match the curriculum, and therefore did not measure students’ mastery of material taught in-class, creating confusion and frustration among teachers and parents.

“I feel like we’re just saying ‘mumbo jumbo’ and not doing anything about it,” Moticka said. “We don’t know what they don’t know, and we also don’t know what they do know.”

Later in the meeting, in accordance with Missouri House Bill 432 (2021), KSD will begin to offer two weeks of unpaid leave to staff members who are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. This unpaid leave may be used so they can appear in court, attend counseling, receive medical attention or other services related to their recovery. Time off does not need to be taken all at once, but can be used as needed. Staff members will also be able to take one week of unpaid leave if a family member is a victim of domestic or sexual abuse for the same purposes listed above.

The next BOE meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 27th at 7 p.m.