The Smarter Balance standardized test results have been released for Missoula County Public schools and some schools are performing much better than others.

The Smarter Balance test is given to students in grades three through eight and ranks students in four categories: Novice, Non-Proficient, Proficient and Advanced. Students that achieve Proficient and Advanced results are able to demonstrate competency in the core areas of Math and English Language Arts (ELA) that they are expected to have mastered at their grade level.

Looking at Missoula, the schools show wildly varying results. For Example 68 percent of Cold Springs School students achieved Advanced or Proficient scores in math and ELA, while at Franklin School, only 28 percent of students could post the same achievement in math, and 38 percent in ELA.

Below are the results for each school from best performing to worst performing. The first number represents the percentage of students that achieved proficient or Advanced scores in math, the second number represents the number of Proficient or Advanced scores in ELA:

  1. Cold Springs          68 Math, 68 ELA
  2. Hawthorne             63 Math,  64 ELA
  3. Paxson                  57 Math,  66 ELA
  4. Lewis &Clark         58 Math,  64 ELA
  5. Washington           53 Math,  62 ELA
  6. Chief Charlo          55 Math,  54 ELA
  7. Rattlesnake El.      52 Math,  54 ELA
  8. Porter                    43 Math,  52 ELA
  9. Meadow Hill           42 Math, 53 ELA
  10. Lowell                    40 Math, 53 ELA
  11. Russel                   39 Math,  50 ELA
  12. Franklin                 28, Math, 52 ELA

The numbers reveal what many parents will view as disturbing, the idea that even in our best local school more than 30 percent of students are not meeting basic reading and math standards is an uncomfortable thought. The knowledge that in five local schools more than half of the students are failing to meet core standards is downright troubling.

Missoula County School District One Superintendent Mark Thane says socioeconomic factors are a major concern.

"One of the concerns that I would express, is that we do see the results distributed largely along socioeconomic lines, where we have school buildings that are less impacted by poverty or by students using free or reduced lunch, or less impacted by mobility, we seem to have higher scores," Thane said. "There are schools like Cold Springs, with the fewest number of students that are impacted by poverty, probably the least mobility that we see in the district, and they correspondingly have the highest scores," Thane said. "You look at other schools like Franklin Elementary which has significant impact from families that are influenced by poverty and there is a significant mobility issue, and their scores correspondingly are low."

On average Missoula County Schools outpaced the state average by about seven points in both Math and ELA, which is a bit of good news. Montana also usually ranks among the top ten states nationwide in standardized testing.

For a more in depth look at the scores of all Montana schools, visit the Office of Public Instruction's website.  Click on Data and Results and then 2015 -2016 Smarter Balance Preliminary Test Results for the full picture.