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How is your school performing?


Fri, Jul 17th, 2009
Posted in Education

Since 2006, the Minnesota Department of Education has administered the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) test for students, teachers and administrators to identify areas of proficiency along with opportunities for improvement.

With the spring 2009 results of all individual schools and districts becoming available to the public at the web site for the Minnesota Department of Education, educators and parents are interested in determining where their school stands.

In an effort to put my arms around the MCA comparables of each school district, I sorted and filtered the test scores and proficiency levels of all schools including: Chatfield Public Schools, Lanesboro Public School District, Mabel-Canton Public School District, Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, Kingsland Public School District and Fillmore Central School District.

The Lanesboro Public School District had mixed results. Their third-graders demonstrated 100% proficiency with math and reading, outperforming all other schools in the Fillmore County area. However, their 11th grade math proficiency put them second from the bottom of the six-school list with only 17.9% of the students meeting or exceeding state standards. This compares with the state average of 41.6% of the students demonstrating proficiency in mathematics. On the flip side, Lanesboro 10th graders finished 4% above the state average in reading.

Lanesboro Superintendent, Jeff Boggs, said "We landed about where we thought we would."

Boggs went on to say "There's a lot of different ways to look at testing. The 10th grade math test is the toughest math test."

Sharing the same opinion as many other administrators, Boggs added "The state has not been really clear on what is going to be on the test, so it's kind of like trying to hit a moving target."

Chatfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Don Hainlen, now going into his fourth year in this role, indicated, "The state has continued to raise the standards. In time, few schools are going to struggle to meet the cut line for satisfactory."

Chatfield third-graders scored 1.8% below the state average for math and 5.3% above the state average for reading. Meanwhile, 10th-graders finished 2.1% below the state average for reading, and 11th-graders scored 3.2% lower than the state average in math. With enrollment numbers so low at each school, 2% to 3% may be equivalent to one student.

After discussing the results of the MCA test, Hainlen added, "There's still a lot of room for improvement. I think we are doing the right things to improve our performance. This is only one indicator of success."

Overall, the test results for Chatfield were pretty consistent with the state averages.

Meanwhile, the Mabel-Canton Public School District posted average results with the lower grades and then lost ground with math in the higher grade levels. The third-graders scored 3.6% above the state average for math and 3.3% below the state average for reading. In the area of reading, 10th-graders finished 13.6% below the state average, and 11th-graders scored 3.8% below the state average in mathematics. Mabel-Canton Superintendent Marcia Love was not available for comment.

The Kingsland Public School District third-graders scored above average in math and reading. And while the 10th-graders finished just below the state average in reading, the eleventh-graders fell 19.8% below the state average in mathematics.

Kingsland's Superintendent, Darrin Strosahl, was enthusiastic about the changes his school district was implementing to improve their situation.

"This past year was the first year we implemented curriculum that was aligned pre-kindergarten through 12th grade." So, all curriculum was aligned from one grade level to the next level.

Coming off a year of Adequate Yearly Progress for underperformance of middle school special education students, now with two consecutive years of progress, Strosahl shared how pleased he was with the faculty collaborating to identify opportunities and solutions.

However, along with Strosahl's optimism, he expressed concerns about the MCA process and ability to follow-up. "I really don't think it's effective for improving results, based on a lack of information to correct problems on an individual basis."

The Fillmore Central School District third-graders scored slightly above the state averages for both math and reading. The 11th-graders, on the other hand, fell to the very bottom of the list in math with a mere 17.8% of students meeting or exceeding state standards -- 23.8% below the state average. The 10th-graders did finish their reading scores 4% above the state average, tying Lanesboro for the highest proficiency in reading among the six schools included in this analysis.

Myrna Luehmann, Superintendent of the Fillmore Central School District, indicated that she was pleased to see her school district satisfied the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) criteria, which takes into consideration other variables such as attendance and graduation rate for the high school. In addition, the districts get credit for students with partial proficiency. Districts "must make AYP status for two years in a row to get off" according to Luehmann.

When asked about how this system is working, Luehmann said, "The AYP system is not fair to students with special needs, and at test time they are compared to students at a different level."

Rushford-Peterson Public Schools finished with some interesting test results.

Finishing 1.1% above the state average in math, R-P third-graders excelled 11.9% above the state average in reading. The 11th-graders also posted above average numbers with 60.3% proficiency in math -- 18.7% above the state average. On the flip side, their 10th-graders finished 5% below the state average in reading.

"We're always looking for growth. We have seen some significant results in the past three years," said Chuck Ehler, superintendent of the Rushford-Peterson Public Schools.

"If MCA is the measuring stick, we are very pleased with how our students are performing. I want to attribute that to our staff."

Ehler concluded, "Our goal is to be proficient in all areas. We have a reading program we are implementing next year at the high school level."

The Minnesota Department of Education shared their analysis of the "big picture" for the 2009 MCA results.

• Math and reading MCA-II test scores increased or stayed relatively steady for most grades in 2009.

• The biggest increase on the MCA-II was in 11th-grade math, with nearly an 8 percent increase. This can be attributed to the new more rigorous graduation requirement, which provided an additional incentive for students to perform well.

• Fourth-grade math and sixth-grade and 10th-grade reading scores all increased by about 3 percent, while fourth-grade reading increased by about 2 percent.

• There was also a small decrease in fifth-grade reading results.

The information below identifies the name of each school district, the number of students tested in April 2009, average test score for that respective group of students, and what percent of those students met or exceeded Minneosta Academic Standards - ranked highest to lowest.

Third Grade Math

• Lanesboro Public School District, 23 students, 369.5 average test score, 100% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 28 students, 359.0 average test score, 85.7% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 39 students, 360.2 average test score, 84.6% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 49 students, 356.5 average test score, 83.7% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 42 students, 358.0 average test score, 83.3% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 61 students, 358.0 average test score, 80.3% met or exceeded.

Third Grade Reading

• Lanesboro Public School District, 23 students, 376.8 average test score, 100% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 41 students, 366.3 average test score, 90.2% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 61 students, 363.6 average test score, 83.6% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 49 students, 363.7 average test score, 79.5% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 39 students, 363.9 average test score 79.4% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 28 students, 359.3 average test score, 75% met or exceeded.

Fourth Grade Math

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 17 students, 467 average test score, 100% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 27 students, 464.1 average test score, 96.3% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 61 students, 460.8 average test score, 83.6% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 42 students, 455.8 average test score, 76.2% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 48 students, 456.8 average test score, 73% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 67 students, 451.6 average test score, 56.7% met or exceeded.

Fourth Grade Reading

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 61 students, 461.5 average test score, 93.4% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 27 students, 462.5 average test score, 92.5% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 17 students, 462.8 average test score, 82.4% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 48 students, 460.1 average test score, 81.3% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 67 students, 458.4 average test score, 79.1% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 42 students, 457.1 average test score, 71.5% met or exceeded.

5th Grade Math

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 17 students, 558.2 average test score, 88.2% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 23 students, 557.9 average test score, 73.9% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 47 students, 550 average test score, 53.2% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 59 students, 550.8 average test score, 50.8% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 34 students, 549.5 average test score, 58.8% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 79 students, 550.1 average test score, 55.7% met or exceeded.

Fifth Grade Reading

• Lanesboro Public School District, 23 students, 560.9 average test score, 82.6% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 79 students, 555.7 average test score, 76% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 59 students, 557.2 average test score, 72.8% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 34 students, 554.5 average test score, 64.7% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 17 students, 553.6 average test score, 64.7% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 47 students, 553.1 average test score, 53.2% met or exceeded.

Sixth Grade Math

• Lanesboro Public School District, 35 students, 658.1 average test score, 80% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 24 students, 656.9 average test score, 79.2% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 41 students, 653.5 average test score, 65.9% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 51 students, 654.9 average test score, 60.7% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 68 students, 651.5 average test score, 60.3% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 30 students, 649.1 average test score, 53.3% met or exceeded.

Sixth Grade Reading

• Lanesboro Public School District, 35 students, 661.6 average test score, 88.6% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 41 students, 655 average test score, 80.5% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 51 students, 657 average test score, 80.4% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 30 students, 656.6 average test score, 76.7% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 24 students, 656.3 average test score, 70.8% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 67 students, 654.9 average test score, 70.1% met or exceeded.

Seventh Grade Math

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 41 students, 757.8 average test score, 78.1% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 26 students, 756.7 average test score, 76.9% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 53 students, 755.7 average test score, 69.8% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 25 students, 752 average test score, 64% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 61 students, 752.3 average test score, 60.6% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 43 students, 751.6 average test score, 60.5% met or exceeded.

Seventh Grade Reading

• Kingsland Public School District, 53 students, 758.8 average test score 77.3% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 41 students, 756.3 average test score, 73.2% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 25 students, 757.6 average test score, 72% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 44 students, 755.4 average test score, 70.4% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 61 students, 751.1 average test score, 62.3% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 26 students, 749.8 average test score, 57.7% met or exceeded.

Eighth Grade Math

• Chatfield Public Schools, 60 students, 854.5 average test score, 68.3% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 50 students, 852 average test score, 66% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 22 students, 852.8 average test score, 63.6% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 37 students, 851.6 average test score, 62.2% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 54 students, 852.8 average test score, 61.1% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 20 students, 851.8 average test score, 60% met or exceeded.

Eighth Grade Reading

• Lanesboro Public School District, 22 students, 857.1 average test score, 90.9% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 50 students, 857.1 average test score, 80% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 20 students, 853.5 average test score, 75% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 54 students, 852.9 average test score 68.5% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 60 students, 853.7 average test score, 63.3% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 37 students, 852.4 average test score, 62.1% met or exceeded.

10th Grade Reading

• Fillmore Central, 46 students, 1058.4 average test score, 78.2% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 32 students, 1058.2 average test score, 78.2% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 71 students, 1054.7 average test score 73.2% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 79 students, 1055 average test score, 72.1% met or exceeded.

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 39 students, 1054.1 average test score, 69.2% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 33 students, 1051.7 average test score, 60.6% met or exceeded.

11th Grade Math

• Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, 63 students, 1152 average test score, 60.3% met or exceeded.

• Mabel-Canton Public School District, 45 students, 1144.8 average test score, 37.8% met or exceeded.

• Kingsland Public School District, 55 students, 1143.8 average test score, 21.8% met or exceeded.

• Chatfield Public Schools, 73 students, 1146.3 average test score, 38.4% met or exceeded.

• Lanesboro Public School District, 28 students, 1140 average test score, 17.9% met or exceeded.

• Fillmore Central, 45 students, 1138.2 average test score, 17.8% met or exceeded.

Starting Monday, July 20, I will be providing a downloadable comprehensive analysis, accessible at fillmorecountyjournal.com, displayed under the section labeled "School."

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