By Jason Schmucker
The Minnesota Department of Education has released data from the latest Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests, and state averages in 2017 dropped in both science and math — dipping to 54.7 percent proficient to 53.9 percent proficient and from 59.4 percent proficient to 58.6 percent proficient. Reading scores statewide saw a slight uptick, climing from 59.7 percent proficient in 2016 to 60.1 percent proficient in 2017.
In Waconia, the news was better. Scores for ISD 110 as a whole climbed across the board – reading climbed from 70 percent proficient in 2016 to 75 percent proficient in 2017; science scores climbed from 62.9 percent to 65.2 percent; and math scores climbed from 63 percent to 78.4 percent.
“District 110 shows high levels of achievement across all tested grades and results are well above state averages,” said Pat Devine, district superintendent. “As a district, we value practices that promote a sense of community for all learners.”
At the building level, Waconia Middle School saw a drop in science scores (59.8 percent to 46.8 percent); Bayview saw a drop in math scores (87.3 percent to 82.1 percent); and Southview saw a decrease in both math (89.9 percent to 87.2 percent) and reading (80.8 percent to 76.5 percent). High school scores were up across the board.
District officials are quick to note that comparisons at the building level are not apples-to-apples comparisons this year.
“With the change from sites as well as reconfigured district boundaries, we are not comparing the same cohort of students from 2016 in 2017,” said Kathy Oliphant, the district’s director of teaching and learning.
Last year, Waconia added an elementary school to the district – Laketown Elementary. The addition pulled 5th grade out of the middle school and dispersed it across the three elementaries – accounting for some of the decline in science scores at the middle school (science is tested in grades 5 and 8). The addition of an elementary also redefined the boundaries for all elementaries in the district, meaning some students who went to Bayview last year are now at Southview or Laketown, and vice versa.
At the grade level, 3rd grade math scores fell from 90 percent proficient to 87 percent proficient and reading scores climbed from 74 percent to 76 percent. In 4th grade, math scores climbed from 87 percent to 88 percent and reading scores fell from 78 percent to 68 percent. At the 5th grade level, math scores climbed from 72 percent to 79 percent, while reading scores climbed from 81 to 84 percent. Sixth grade math scores fell from 73 to 68 percent and reading fell from 75 to 74 percent. At the 7th grade level, scores increased in both categories, climbing from 74 to 80 percent in math and from 65 to 75 percent in reading. Eighth grade scores saw similar spikes in reading and math, climbing from 75 to 83 percent and 62 to 75 percent, respectively. Grade 11 saw reading scores climb from 70 to 74 percent; and math scores climbed to 69 percent from 63 percent.
Science scores across the district were either up or holding steady – 5th grade science held steady at 76 percent proficient; 8th grade science climbed from 46 to 47 percent; and high school science climbed from 63 to 73 percent.
We are very proud of our District 110 learners and commend them for their hard work and achievement. Our teachers and staff know their students and are the true experts in engaging learners and making good instructional decisions,” Devine said. “We are also fortunate to have a high level of involvement from our District 110 families. All of these factors contribute to the success of our students.”
Scores for ISD 110 – both at the building and grade levels – were still well above state averages.
“We consistently have scores above the state average and we are very proud of that. And, whenever there is a change in results in either direction, we examine potential factors to help us identify what influenced the change,” Oliphant said. “Everyone works together to generate strategies to continue learner growth and success. Over the years, we have found collaborative group work with a focus on curriculum alignment is the best strategy for improving student achievement.