Several area students make top score on math portion of MAP test

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Three Cape Girardeau students learned recently they received the highest score possible on a state test they took in the spring.

Scores on Missouri Assessment Program tests are of the utmost importance to school districts, which face consequences under No Child Left Behind if they don't make the grade. At Jefferson Elementary, where teachers say they are desperately trying but feel they are under the microscope, teachers and students are celebrating two fourth-graders, the only two in the district, who scored in the highest level of proficiency. A student in sixth grade at the middle school did the same.

The test has no such thing as a "perfect score"; a child may miss one question but score as advanced. The test is graded on a scale, meaning that when it is evaluated, questions are put in order from easiest to hardest. Graders look at where students miss questions. If a student gets one question wrong but continues to consistently get harder questions right, they will move up on the scale. They stop on the scale when the correct answers stop.

Different grades and subjects have different scales.

Adrienne Underwood, 9, and Belinda Strack, 9, received a scale score of 780 in math, the highest possible, when they took the MAP test in third grade.

At Central Middle School, Aaron Mehner received the highest score on the math MAP test in fifth grade last school year.

Six students in Jackson scored the highest possible for their grade in math, but the Jackson School District did not release their names.

"I can't remember it ever happening," said Jefferson principal Mark Cook. "To do that is very difficult. I was really proud and honored at the same time. We made a lot of progress in math."

Underwood said that when she read her score she started "screaming and hollering. I said, 'Oh my God. Mom, I got a 100 percent!' My dad was really proud, too."

"I thought I was going to do horrible. I was just nervous because I had never taken a big test like that before," Strack said. But when she heard the news this month she said she "just started jumping up and down."

Both girls attended math enrichment classes after school and played games in class to make math fun, such as math bingo, practicing with flashcards outside or using fake coins.

Underwood's secret on test day? "I took my sweet time. I was the last one done, but I didn't care because I wanted to get it right," she said.

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