COLUMBIA, Mo. -

On Friday, the test results for Columbia Public Schools were released.

This year the Columbia public school district is proud of the fact that 500 more students are taking advanced placement courses.

The area of improvement officials want to work on is the super subgroups.

Superintendent Peter Stiepleman told ABC 17 News he is pleased with the overall performance- but is concerned with the super subgroup, meaning students from fragile families.

This year that group scored 3 points lower than last year.

"This year we are hiring two retired counselors to serve as mobility specialists," said Stiepleman.

Those counselors will help to get kids back to school.

Stiepleman told ABC 17 News it is not uncommon for a child from a fragile family to move around and miss at least 10 days of school during that process.

"These two counselors are going to be serving students almost as case managers to say, 'We know this child has high absenteeism, so when that child disappears from a school, we have a pretty good indication that child has now moved to a new residence,'" said Stiepleman.

While the Missouri Assessment Program test scores went up almost a percentage point, ACT scores also slightly improved.
     
"We are above the state average, and we are above the national average when it comes to ACT performance," said Stiepleman.

This year all juniors will be taking the ACT test that is being paid for by the state.

"It will be our job to support our students so that they have every opportunity to do well," said Stiepleman.

The opportunity of taking advance placement exams is proven to increase students' chances of graduating.

This year hundreds of students from all four high schools are taking part in these courses.

"We are ecstatic about that," said Stiepleman.

The graduation rate this year was 90 percent, up from 5 percent from the previous year.