Charter school 4th-, 6th-grade progress stands out

Progress in math and reading was evenly divided among the six grade levels at the Kingman Academy of Learning in the latest Measure of Academic Progress released by the Arizona Department of Education.

Measure of Academic Progress, or MAP, scores combine scores for the previous two Stanford-9 tests taken by elementary pupils in spring 2002 and spring 2003.

The report includes all pupils in grade three through eight who were at the same schools and took the test both years.

The accompanying graphs give results for KAL and Eagle Academy in Golden Valley, the other charter school serving the Kingman area.

Third- , fourth- and seventh-grade pupils in the KAL school district made greater strides in reading than fifth-, sixth- and eighth-graders, who showed more improvement in math.

Susan Chan, KAL district administrator, said MAP scores are just a small piece of the overall achievement profile.

"What we do is look for trends over the years," Chan said.

"If we have an issue of third grade to fourth grade not making a year of growth we go back and analyze the curriculum and find out why those students did not make a year of growth.

"We must also remember that MAP scores are based on Stanford-9 results.

Our curriculum is standards-based and there is not a 100 percent correlation between state standards and what is asked on Stanford-9."

While growth was measured in both subject areas at all grade levels, several figures stood out.

In sixth grade, 96 percent of pupils improved in math over the preceding year.

Other large gains could be found among fourth-graders in reading (86 percent improvement) and sixth-graders in reading (84 percent improvement).

"In an ideal world, 100 percent of the kids would achieve growth every year," Chan said.

"As with AIMS (Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards), we look at places we need to improve and work with our teachers and students that need the help so they can make a year of growth each year."

The state Department of Education does not release figures for any grade in which less than 10 pupils had scores analyzed, in order to respect privacy rights.

For that reason no numbers are available for grades three through six at Eagle Academy.

Nine of 15 seventh-graders at Eagle, or 60 percent, improved in math.

The gains in reading were greater with 11 of 15 pupils, or 73 percent, improving.

Eighth-graders shined in math with 12 of 14 improving, an 86 percent figure.

There was a 71 percent improvement found in reading with 10 of 14 posting higher scores in 2003.

Attempts to contact Eagle Principal Mike McCarthy for comment on MAP results at his school were unsuccessful.