The statewide averages in the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments weren’t anything to write home about, according to Minnesota education experts. But St. Michael-Albertville schools used a year where the state norm was to slip (math) or hold steady (reading) to widen its gap over the state averages.
St. Michael-Albertville School District will hold its position as one of the top 10 percent in the state across the board when the dust settles on the 2015-16 assessments, growing by more than 2 percentage points in science, nearly a full point in math and more than two points in reading over its 2014-2015 scores, which were the best in district history in terms of comparison to state averages.
STMA had nearly 75 percent of all students meet proficiency or better in science, 20 percentage points higher than the state average of 54.7 percent proficiency. That was nearly 10 points higher than neighboring school districts as well, including Elk River and Monticello.
In reading, meanwhile, STMA was at 73.3 percent proficiency, which was more than 13 points ahead of the state averages. That’s a score that’s up two points from 2015 testing and continues to trend upward for the school district since the MCA-III came on board in 2013.
Finally, in math, STMA was at nearly 78 percent, which was up nearly a point in a year where the state average actually dropped two percentage points. STMA schools widened their advantage over the state average to 18 percentage points, putting them among the top districts in the state for any size.
Former St. Michael-Albertville School District Superintendent James Behle said that the trend is for STMA students to exceed the state averages by increasing margins. He said that the positive trends are the result of a curriculum aligned with state standards and skilled teachers trained on highly effective instructional strategies that improve student achievement.
These yearly tests, required by state and federal law, are used as one tool to help schools gauge students’ progress in meeting expectations on Minnesota state standards for reading, math and science, Behle said. Standards determine what students need to know and be able to do. Teachers and local school districts select the curriculum, materials and lessons to instruct students to meet expectations for careers and college. Each year the test results are used to identify the strengths and limitations of the educational program.
After the complete report of the MCA results is made to the School Board, information will be posted on the district website.
ISD 728 also Seeing Success on the Grow
ISD 728 – Elk River, Rogers, Otsego and Zimmerman schools, also earned a spot among the best in the state when it comes to proficiency in math. Meanwhile, the district continues to dominate the state average when it comes to average test scores in reading and science. The Minnesota Department of Education released the MCA III exam results early Thursday, July 28. The comprehensive assessments examine proficiency in the three core subjects for educators across elementary, middle and high school levels.
The district’s performance as tops in math and among the top three in science and reading made it the top overall performing “big” district in the state.
“It’s really exciting and something we can be very proud of as a school district,” said Dr. Jana Hennen-Burr, ISD 728 Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. “The student success is a sign of our success as a team of educators. We’re proud, as a leadership team, that our teachers are putting our students in a position to achieve and truly thrive.”
Out of the top 10 largest school districts in Minnesota, ISD 728 placed first in overall math scores. The district’s average score of 72.9 percent proficient topped the state average by 13.5 percent, and is a 2 percent rise under the current testing format adapted in 2013. Though it’s a very slight drop from 2015, it was on pace with a statewide drop in MCA math scores.
ISD 728 topped the state averages by more than 10 points in science across the board and nearly 10 points in reading. More info can be found on the ISD 728 website.