Lake County test scores inThe Minnesota Department of Education released student performance data Wednesday, along with graduation test scores in reading, math and writing. In most grades, Lake Superior School District scores were close to state averages.
By: Jana Hollingsworth and Lareesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
The Minnesota Department of Education released student performance data Wednesday, along with graduation test scores in reading, math and writing.
In most grades, Lake Superior School District scores were close to state averages. However, middle school scores across the district fell short. Fifth-grade math scores were 20 percentage points lower than the state average and even worse at William Kelley Elementary, where only 25 percent of students tested proficient in math compared to the 62 percent state average.
Overall seventh-grade scores suffered as well, coming in 14 points under the state average for math and 13 for reading. Two Harbors High School seventh-grade math scores were close to 20 points below the state average.
Calls to Two Harbors and William Kelley administrators for comment were not immediately returned.
Later this month, the state will release more targeted reports that will show how specific schools have progressed. The analysis will let schools know where their biggest shortfalls are and where to focus their resources.
For example, said state education department Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, today’s results won’t show the progress of a fifth-grader who read last year at a second-grade level and this year at a fourth-grade level. The next round of data-crunching will show that.
But today’s results are important, she said, because “it’s a good systems check for schools for hitting the bar. The information at the end of the month will help them with instruction.”
This year Minnesota received a waiver from strict No Child Left Behind mandates and will instead gauge student performance based on new directives developed by the state.
The new system that has replaced No Child Left Behind, called Multiple Measurement Ratings, gives schools three ratings. The overall rating will factor in student performance on standardized tests, scoring progress from one year to the next, advancements in closing the achievement gap and high school graduation rates.
The second rating looks only at the achievement gap. In the third rating, the MMR will categorize schools. Highest-performing schools will be designated as reward schools, low-performing schools will be termed priority and those with the biggest achievement gap problems will be called focus schools.
Earlier this year, William Kelley Elementary was designated as a reward school. The three other LSSD schools did not receive MMR designations.
The new system is focused on closing the achievement gap and overall progress rather than the goal of 100-percent proficiency No Child Left Behind aimed for.
Statewide, scores were up for grades three through eight in math, and up overall for reading. Math scores for grade 11 declined.
The math portion, unlike writing and reading, isn’t a requirement for graduation. Students who fail can take it twice more. If they fail again, they must get help, but students can still graduate without passing the test.