LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - “I really did this, I exceeded my goal and I was so proud of myself,” 5th grade student Marlisha Auguste said.
Kenwood Elementary is celebrating hundreds of students like Marlisha.
She and most of her classmates either met or exceeded their MAP growth goals. MAP. or Measure of Academic Progress, assesses how students are doing in math and reading.
Instead of an annual “high stakes” exam based on standards for each grade level, MAP testing is done several times over the school year and tracks how a student is progressing.
The questions adjust to adapt to each student’s performance.
"Having an assessment like this allows us to focus on every child, where their starting point is, gives us a direction to go and helps us to celebrate the growth that they’ve made,” Principal Jill Handley said.
According to national data, JCPS is the fastest growing district MAP has ever seen in the second year of implementation. Typically, Handley said 50 percent of students meet growth goals. Kenwood first graders stood out above the rest, with 80 percent meeting or exceeding expectations.
First grade teacher Kayla Adams attributed the growth to setting goals with students and finding new ways to address knowledge gaps.
“An important part of that was looking at that data and seeing what areas our students were struggling with or what are they being successful in and then we’ve grouped our students based on that and we’re making sure what we’re working with every student on is exactly what they need,” Adams said.
English is a second language for 38 percent of the student population at Kenwood.
"I think often times when all we measure is just an achievement number sometimes that doesn’t tell the beauty of every child’s academic story,” Handley said.
District-wide, students showed significant growth at each grade level in reading and math. Compared to last year, elementary math saw a 10 percent increase in students meeting or exceeding their growth goals, there was a 5 percent increase in middle school students, and a 14 percent increase in high school students.
In reading, elementary students meeting or exceeding their goal increased seven percent, middle school saw a three percent increase, and there was an eight percent rise in high school student growth.
The district said the numbers are promising news for the achievement gap between black and white students. African-American students and Latino students showed a significant increase in meeting their MAP growth goals.
W.E.B. DuBois Academy had the highest percentage of growth on MAP testing for African American male students in the district.
“We know it’s not the end of the road but it’s a sign that we are doing the right things,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said. “When you get back information that says our students are growing and more students are on grade level than we had before it’s affirming of the work that we are doing. So, a long way to go but we are happy with the progress.”