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Springfield Public Schools Fail to Meet Federal Standards

Several schools in Springfield failed to meet the federal education standards laid out in the No Child Left Behind Act. Thirty-one out of the 50 Springfield Public Schools failed the test. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner spoke with Superintendent Norm Ridder about what this means for students and teachers in the upcoming school year.

The Adequate Yearly Progress report, or AYP, is a measure of academic success that was implemented under the No Child Left Behind Act back in 2002.

The AYP requires that all students be tested in math and communication arts every year.

All students are tested, but the data focuses more on five student sub-groups such as ethnic minorities or lower income students.

If 30 students in one of the sub-groups fail the test requirements, then that entire school fails to meet the AYP standards.

Dr. Norm Ridder is the Superintendent for Springfield Public Schools.

He says with 24,000 students in the district, it would be easier to switch to what is known as a formative testing system.

Under that system, teachers test students on a regular basis instead of testing once a year.

“A summative package has really caused a lot of the classroom teachers in the system to teach to the test. Where as, if you go to a formative type of assessment where you do periodic testing and you get the results the day after, you get a lot better results. I think that is going to be where we are going to be going in the very near future,” Ridder said.

Ridder says even though 31 schools failed to meet the AYP, there were three schools that failed last year but made adequate yearly progress this year.

He says the school district worked hard to implement more technology in those schools to make the students learn better.

“What’s happening there is we’ve already rolled out the technology in those three schools along with just a handful of others have that technology in place. What I would call fully implemented it. However, it’s going to take the rest of this next year to really get it fully rolled out,” Ridder said.

Ridder says the AYP doesn’t adequately reflect how the school system is doing.“When you look at the scores across the system, you see that we are growing every year. We are improving every year and when you look at the sub-groups they’re even growing faster than are regular population. So that’s exactly what you want to have happen. So, we’re very excited about that. I just think that the goals in the No Child Left Behind Act are most unreasonable,” Ridder said.According to AYP statistics, nearly three quarters of all the school districts in Missouri also failed to meet the math and reading requirements.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.