Test scores encouraging, but more work remains, district says

School District 191 says that results from the 2017 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments released this week show encouraging signs related to work being done in the district and the need to continue expanding it.

At the elementary level, where the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district piloted new literacy curriculum and teaching strategies during 2016-17, proficiency rates on the MCA reading tests increased among third- and fifth-graders, the district said in a news release.

In particular, those classrooms where the new curriculum was used saw the highest student growth and percentage of students meeting growth goals, as measured by NWEA/MAP assessments.

The new elementary literacy curriculum materials and teaching strategies, called Making Meaning and Being a Reader, will be used throughout District 191 elementary schools beginning this coming school year.

“Seeing those results was encouraging, and we anticipate that the growth students are demonstrating will lead to higher proficiency on the MCAs in coming years,” said Stacie Stanley, director of curriculum, assessment, instruction and support services.

Some schools showed especially strong results on the MCA tests, including Sioux Trail Elementary, where proficiency rates schoolwide rose in reading, math and science, and were more than 10 points above state average. Sioux Trail was a pilot site for the district’s work to become a culturally proficient school system, which supports personalized learning. The school won a Local Government Innovation Award from the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute for its CPSS work and success last year.

While math proficiency rates were down among third- and fourth-graders districtwide, there was an increase for fifth-graders. In addition, science scores rose among fifth-graders for the first time in several years.

There were mixed results at the middle school level, where reading proficiency rates rose among seventh- and eighth-graders. Math proficiency rates rose in seventh grade, with a decrease in the sixth and eighth grades. Scores on the MCA science test, taken by eighth-graders, rose by more than 10 percent.

Stanley pointed to success with a new middle school intervention program called Read 180 and Math 180. Many of the students who received those interventions moved from the lowest level of proficiency (Does Not Meet) on MCA tests to Meets Proficiency.

Those results, Stanley said, are why the district will be using Read 180 and Math 180 with struggling students in middle and high school.

At Burnsville High School, MCA results were down in reading, math and science. Although the results are not what the district said it had hoped for, it said a decline in test scores is typical when schools implement major changes.

In 2016-17, as part of Vision One91, BHS added ninth grade, implemented the new Pathways model, launched 31 new courses and began a one-to-one program with each student receiving a Chromebook personal learning device.

Stanley said: “The 2016-2017 school year included many changes at our high school. Now that staff and students have acclimated to the new environment, we are confident we will return to greater levels of performance as a result of Vision One91 and the opportunities and supports in place for students.”

For complete MCA result information, visit the state Department of Education website at www.education.state.mn.us.