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District 518 follows statewide patterns in standardized test scores

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/all/themes/dglobe_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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District 518 follows statewide patterns in standardized test scores
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON — Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) results released today by the Minnesota Department of Education show a dip in District 518’s science and reading test scores and an increase in mathematics scores.

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The decrease in reading test scores was seen across the state and is already being largely attributed to a new testing standard. However, District 518 Director of School Improvement Katie Clarke was quick to point out that in general, Worthington’s scores stayed consistent in relation to the state averages.

“Overall, from 2012 to 2013, the district continues to mirror where we were with the state previously compared to where we are this year,” she said. “For example, in the reading score, you see a drop in the state level and the district did the same thing.”

The annual tests are used to gauge students’ progress in meeting expectations on Minnesota state standards for reading, math and science, and are required by state and federal law.

This was the first year students took reading tests based on new, more challenging standards. The new standards were adopted by the state to help ensure students are career- and college-ready upon high school graduation.

The state also attributed a decrease in the state’s math scores to a change in testing options. Previously, students were able to take the online test up to three times. In 2013, students were only given one opportunity to take the test — this was also true for reading,

“We can be proud of the fact that Minnesota is a pioneer in setting high expectations for students, and in using online testing that gives more timely information to teachers and parents,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in a press release. “It’s important to look at today’s tests results for what they are: a snapshot in time that tells us how students are doing in mastering our state standards. What is needed now is to focus our efforts and stop moving the goalposts so teachers and students have a consistent target to hit.”

Superintendent John Landgaard attributed District 518’s test results, in part, to the high number of immigrant students in the district’s schools.

“One thing is, in our district, we continually have a number of new-to-the-country immigrants. That, of course, affects some of our data,” he said. “The language barrier creates some issues, particularly in testing data — primarily because they don’t have the skills needed at the time of the tests.”

Clarke echoed Landgaard’s comments, adding that the district is encouraged more by the Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR), expected to be released by the state later this fall. In the MMR, Worthington has steadily seen high numbers of students exhibiting medium to high growth levels — a measurement that Clarke believes is more indicative of a school’s success.

“I believe it’s a better gauge and that it is more accurate because students come to us at all different levels,” she said.

District 518 is already moving forward with changes that Landgaard believes will continue to improve its test scores.

“We’ve already put things in place,” he said. “Some are structure changes in trying to get an office established for school improvement. We’re also hoping the implementation of the iPads will help with some of these things, too.”

Clarke also mentioned SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol), an intensive instructional model that focuses on instructional practices for English-language learners being implemented districtwide.

“By implementing (the iPads and SIOP), we are going to put new tools in the hands of teachers and more learning opportunities in the hands of students,” Clarke said. “Those two things we hope will continue to grow our students at a high level.”

Worthington students’ test scores can be found below.

Mathematics Worthington students’ test scores for mathematics saw an increase from 2012 but remained below the state average in each grade tested.

* 36.5 percent of 11th-grade students tested proficient, compared to 30.1 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 52.4, compared to 42.5 in 2012.

* 47.5 percent of eighth-graders tested proficient, compared to 48.8 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 58.8 and 62 in 2012.

* 30.1 percent of seventh-graders tested proficient, compared to 42.7 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 56.1 and 58.6 in 2012.

* 28.5 percent of sixth-graders tested proficient, compared to 26 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 57 and 59.8 in 2012.

* 46.2 percent of fifth-graders tested proficient, compared to 42.5 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 60 and 62.3 in 2012.

* 50 percent of fourth-graders tested proficient, compared to 60.1 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 71.1 and 73.3 in 2012.

* 60.7 percent of third-graders tested proficient, compared to 57.7 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 71.5 and 75.5 in 2012.

Reading Worthington students’ test scores for reading dropped below the 2012 test results and below the 2013 state average. However, reading test scores were down across the state.

* 48.6 percent of 10th-graders tested proficient, compared to 59.4 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 62.4 and 76.8 in 2012.

* 35.9 percent of eighth-graders tested proficient, compared to 50.3 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 54.1 and 72.4 in 2012.

* 34.5 percent of seventh-graders tested proficient, compared to 56.8 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 54 and 71.4 in 2012.

* 37.6 percent of sixth-graders tested proficient, compared to 57.7 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 59.3 and 76.2 in 2012.

* 59.5 percent of fifth-graders tested proficient, compared to 73.7 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 63.9 and 79.3 in 2012.

* 30.5 percent of fourth-graders tested proficient, compared to 70.2 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 54 and 75.3 in 2012.

* 42 percent of third-graders tested proficient compared, to 61.6 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 57.2 and 80.4 in 2012.

Science Worthington high school students’ test scores saw an increase since 2012, but still lag considerably behind the state average. Eighth-grade students’ test scores saw a slight increase while fifth grade students’ test score dropped since 2012.

* 22.4 percent of high school students tested proficient, compared to 16.5 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 53 and 51.8 in 2012.

* 27.6 percent of eighth-graders tested proficient, compared to 25 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 43.8 and 42 in 2012.

* 49.8 percent of fifth-graders tested proficient, compared to 53.9 percent in 2012. The state average for 2013 was 59.7 and 57.6 in 2012.

Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.

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Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at http://throughthelookingglass.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7322
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