Missouri district sees scores rise with diagnostic program

The Park Hill School District, with 15 schools and more than 10,000 students, is a suburban district located just north of Kansas City, Missouri. Like all schools districts, Park Hill administers state-mandated testing yearly. Although teachers have regularly used classroom assessments to gauge student learning during the year, the district lacked the means to consistently measure student performance against the Missouri Grade-Level Expectations or to predict student performance on the MAP.

To help bridge that gap the district began using Acuity in 2006. Acuity allows classroom teachers to diagnose students' strengths and instructional needs, while predicting student performance on state assessments. It integrates predictive and diagnostic assessments, reports, instructional resources, item banks, and item authoring, all aligned to state standards, and with an eye toward improving student achievement.

"We were tired of being surprised by MAP scores at the end of the year," said Jeff Klein, Ph.D., Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment for Park Hill Schools. "We would try to use MAP data to target instruction for incoming students in the fall but, during the year, teachers didn't have a sense of whether they were making a difference toward those end-of-year standards-based outcomes."

A new case study, produced by CTB/McGraw-Hill tracks the Park Hill students' performance on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) before and after the district began using Acuity for classroom instruction in 2006. The number of students passing the MAP increased by approximately 10 percent immediately following the implementation of Acuity.

"Our state test scores have improved since we began using Acuity, and I am confident that Acuity has facilitated the improvement of our instruction," Dr. Klein said. "Our focus has moved toward an emphasis on growth rather than just the end-of-year score. Teachers want to see how much a student improved over the course of a year, not just where they ended."

Test scores improved markedly following the introduction of Acuity in 2006: the percentage of students passing the MAP test increased, in both communication arts and mathematics, by 10 percent or more. The district also reports a sharpened focus on Missouri Grade-Level Expectations (GLE) and student learning.

"Overall, Acuity has helped Park Hill take the next step into the world of standards-based education," said Dr. Klein. "It has helped teachers move from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. As a result of Acuity, our teachers are not only more knowledgeable about Missouri's standards, but can also measure progress toward proficiency on these standards."

Percentage of Students Proficient in MAP Communications Arts

Percentage of Students Proficient in MAP Mathematics

Full report