Waconia reviews 2012 MMR information

The State of Minnesota recently released Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR) and designations based on data from the 2012 school year and officials at Waconia Public Schools have reason to cheer, especially at Bayview and Clearwater.
MMR is the state’s relatively new system that gauges school performance through the examination of four areas: Proficiency, Student Growth, Achievement Gap Closure, and Graduation Rate. MMR focuses on the results of math and reading tests.
In addition to the performance scores, the system designates Reward, Celebration Eligible, Focus and Priority schools based on their MMR calculations. These designations are only applicable to schools that receive Title funding.
Reward Schools are the top 15 percent performing schools in the state. Celebration Eligible Schools are ones in the 60th to 85th percentile of the top performing schools in the state. Focus Schools are the bottom 10 percent schools that show the largest achievement gap in the state for one or more groups of students.
Priority Schools are the bottom 5 percent of schools on the MMR. Both Focus and Priority schools are given extra assistance to improve.
For 2012, Bayview Elementary received a 98.75 percent MMR, which is an improvement from the school’s 91.16 MMR in 2011.
The score means Bayview received a Reward School designation for 2012. Southview Elementary received a 79.92 percent MMR and was designated as a Celebration Eligible School. Southview’s 2012 MMR was less than the 87.29 percent MMR that the school received in 2011.
At Clearwater, its 2012 MMR of 87.16 percent dwarfed the school’s 66 percent MMR from 2011. As Clearwater does not receive Title funding, it was not eligible for a designation. At the high school, Waconia received a 53.17 percent MMR, which was similar to the school’s 54.30 percent MMR in 2011. As with Clearwater, the high school does not receive Title funding so it also was not eligible for a designation.
“We are pleased with the most recent release of MMR data and school designations,” said Kathy Oliphant, Director of Teaching and Learning for Waconia Public Schools. “In particular, Clearwater Middle School has made significant gains its total MMR, improving from 56.07 percent in 2010 to 87.16 percent in 2012.”
While the district’s MMRs are generally pleasing, Oliphant noted that one should take care when reviewing the scores.
“One caution of this new system is that small differences in student scores can cause large changes in rank and the number of points a school earns in any one area,” she said. “This will be especially true for us in the achievement gap domain.”
Oliphant explained that many of Waconia’s subgroups are small in number and therefore may have a disproportionate weight on the overall points and rank.
“A school may experience fluctuations in their MMRs from year-to-year depending on the unique characteristics of each class,” she said. “This does not excuse us, however, from looking closely at the growth and achievement of all of our students.
“We are still a small enough district that we can look at the progress of each child,” she continued. “Teachers routinely ask to see the individual results of their students from their previous year’s class. This shows such a great commitment on the part of teachers to the growth and success of their students.”
Oliphant said the district is responding to the 2012 MMR results in several ways.
“With the area of English / Language Arts in the curriculum review cycle, this is an important time for us to analyze our assessment data and make instructional and programming decisions for the future,” she said. “The new Minnesota Standards in English / Language Arts call for a new approach to English instruction, particularly at the secondary level. At Clearwater and Waconia High School, we are actively working on two goals for instructional programming.”
Oliphant said the first goal is to design a positive intervention model to improve achievement for the district’s reluctant readers and the second goal is to align instruction to the new standards and engage all students at high cognitive levels.
To learn more, visit the Minnesota Department of Education Data Center, which can be found at http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/Data/index.html.

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