Some of St. Louis Park Public Schools' districtwide test results dropped a bit following changes to how students took mandatory assessments.
Students in third through eighth grade and 11th grade took the math test in the spring. While students took the math test twice in 2012 and kept their best results, they were only allowed to take the test once in 2013.
Proficiency ranged from 50.2 percent for 11th grade to 72.6 percent for fourth graders. The district overall saw its performance drop by three percentage points from 2012 to 2013.
St. Louis Park was not alone. Statewide, there was a slight decline in math scores.
“We can be proud of the fact that Minnesota is a pioneer in setting high expectations for students, and in using online testing that give more timely information to teachers and parents,” a news release quoted Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “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 goal posts so teachers and students have a consistent target to hit.”
- Use the search tools above to compare how individual schools across the state did.
Scores from the reading test, which administered to third through eighth grade and 10th grade, aren’t comparable because 2013 was the first time students took a new test. That test has more difficult reading passages and more challenging questions, along with higher expectations for what qualifies as “proficiency.”
That led to proficiency rates ranging from 59.2 percent for eighth graders to 68.5 percent for fifth graders.
Osseo has seen small but consistent improvement in reading scores prior to the 2013 test. This year’s test will serve as a baseline for comparison with future years.
“Anytime a new test based on new standards is given, a drop in scores is to be expected,” said Cassellius. “But setting high expectations is the right thing to do. If we want our students to compete in a global economy, we must continue to stretch and hold ourselves accountable for helping students meet higher standards.”
The science test is in its second year. Fifth grade districtwide scores ticked downward by about two percentage points and high school scores plummeted by 15 percentage points. Eighth grades boosted their scores by 2.6 points.
With test results in, the next step is for the Department of Education to release adequately yearly progress results and ratings on proficiency, student growth, closing the achievement gap and graduation rates. That should happen Oct. 1.