District 15 reading, math test results are mixed

The tests have been handed back and the students of St. Francis School District 15 have tested at the state average or above in most instances, except at the high school level.

Over the coming weeks, district staff will be going through the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) for reading and math as well as the Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) results to see how the students did in the various test categories.

The results are a sign of the continuing hard work of a dedicated staff and students doing a good job, said Kurt Becker, district curriculum coordinator.

At the high school, the 10th- and 11th-graders were put to the test in math and reading. The freshmen were tested on their writing skills.

Of the 409 students tested on the 11th-grade GRAD math test, 50.9 percent passed, approximately 6.8 percent lower than the state average.

When they took the MCA-II math test, only 32.1 percent tested as proficient.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, 11th-grade math scores declined throughout the state, dropping from 48 percent in 2011 to 41.8 percent.

The district will be looking at the past test results of this group and staff will try to identify what math categories the group is having problems with, Becker said. On the reading test, 80.1 percent of the 451 10th-graders tested passed as proficient on the GRAD test. The statewide average was 80.4 percent.

On the MCA-II reading test, 75.9 percent of the 10th-graders tested proficient, just a hair under the statewide average of 76.8 percent.

Of the 466 ninth-graders tested on their GRAD writing comprehension, 92.6 percent passed, which is above the state average of 91.9 percent.

Last year’s ninth-graders tested at 88.3 percent on the test, Becker said.

The improvement is a result of having a teaching staff that wants students to succeed and are doing a good job teaching the standards, he said.

“The students and staff are both doing a good job,” Becker said.


Middle school 

The three St. Francis Middle School grades tested in math and reading near or above the state average, said Becker.

The 372 sixth-graders taking the MCA-III math test passed with 59.6 percent being proficient, just a little under the statewide average of 59.8 percent.

On the MCA-II reading test, 76.2 percent of the students tested proficient, the same at the statewide average.

For the 426 seventh-graders, the results were mixed.

On the reading test, they tested above the statewide average, but fell below on the math test, according to Becker.

Approximately 52.4 percent of the seventh-graders were proficient in math, 6.2 percent below the state average, and 73.8 percent were proficient in reading. The state average in reading was 71.4 percent proficient.

The 407 eighth-graders tested above the state average in both categories.

In math, 64.6 percent were proficient and 75.5 percent were proficient in reading.

Statewide, 62 percent of the students were proficient in math and 72.4 percent were proficient in reading.



The district’s elementary school students are ahead of the state average in both math and reading.

While the elementary level has had steady growth in math test scores, the district had expected a slight drop in the reading results because it started a new rigorous reading curriculum in 2011-2012, Becker said.

It is good to see the increase and to see the district is already seeing the dividends of the new reading curriculum, he said.

Of the district’s 377 third-graders, 77.7 percent tested proficient in math and 83.3 percent in reading. Statewide, 75.5 percent of the third-graders tested proficient in math and 80.4 percent in reading.

On the fourth-grade math test, the 386 district students tested at 79.7 percent proficient and 81.4 percent were proficient in reading.

Statewide, only 73.3 percent of the fourth-graders tested proficient in math and 75.3 percent in reading.

When the test results came in, it showed 70.5 percent of the district’s 370 fifth-graders were proficient in math and 84.7 percent in reading.

Statewide, the fifth-graders tested at 62.3 percent proficient in math and 79.3 percent proficient in reading.

On the surface, the test results don’t tell a whole lot, Becker said.

It is when the district looks at the different test categories that they can see where students are succeeding and what needs to be strengthened, he said.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]