Student test results mixed in St. Francis School District

Days before the students returned to the classroom, their last test scores were returned to the St. Francis School District.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) and Focus Rating (FR) for the district Aug. 30 and once again the results are mixed for the district.

The district had two schools ranking in the top 25 percent, but also had one school fall below 50 percent, which does not bring any consequences from the state.

St. Francis Elementary (SFE) came in as one of the 128 schools in the state designated as a Reward School, which is the top 15 percent of Title 1 schools in the state.

When the original MMR numbers came out in May for 2010 and 2011 school years, SFE averaged 61.99 percent on the MMR and 64.41 percent on the FR, which is based on proficiency and growth of minority students and students receiving special services, like English Learners, special education and free and reduced price lunch.

For 2011-2012, SFE scored 94.46 percent on the MMR and 95.43 percent on the FR.

“What being named a Reward School means to SFE is that it has proven to be one of the best elementary schools in the state,” said Kurt Becker, curriculum and assessment coordinator.

“It scored in the 99th percentile in proficiency, the 93rd percentile in student growth and the 91st percentile in achievement gap reduction.”

“This is no accident. (Principal) Kathy Kohnen and her staff have worked extremely hard to make sure that SFE’s students receive a great education.”

St. Francis Middle School (SFMS) also received high marks and earned the designation as being eligible as a celebration school, which is given to the next 10 percent of Title 1 schools.

According to the MDE, there were 211 Celebration Eligible schools in the state.

Each school had to submit an explanation of quantitative and qualitative factors that make the school effective.

“Earning eligibility to apply for celebration school status is also a great honor for (SFMS),” said Becker.

“SFMS was also in the 99th percentile in the state in proficiency and it is being recognized as one of the finest middle schools in the state.”

“Again, I would contribute this to the hard work of the staff at SFMS. We will be applying for celebration school status soon and we look forward to the possibility of earning this designation at SFMS.”

In May, SFMS scored 53.04 percent on the MMRs and 70.92 percent on the FR. The newest results shows the SFMS with a MMR of 68.84 percent and a FR of 80.63 percent.

“Any increase in the numbers from the spring to now is a good thing. MMR is really a percentage of possible points earned,” Becker said.

At the other end of the spectrum, St. Francis High School (SFHS) saw a dramatic drop in both its MMR and FR.

In May, the school had a MMR average of 69.34 percent and a FR of 67.98 percent.

The newest numbers has the SFHS MMR results dropping to 34.82 percent and its FR dropping to 17.79 percent.

It is difficult to answer why some numbers increased while others decreased because the data used to calculate the spring numbers was as old as two years, Becker said.

Staff will be looking at why some MMR scores decreased as they analyze the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) scores.

Unlike the high school, Cedar Creek Community School increased its numbers just as dramatically, bringing its MMR up from 29.32 percent to 77.47 percent and its FR from 47.83 to 75.42 percent

“Interestingly, (CCCS) scored in the 100th percentile in proficiency and scored very well in student growth as well,” Becker said,

“Since CCCS is not a Title 1 school, it cannot be designated as a reward or celebration school. However, earning a high MMR score of 77.47 is definitely noteworthy,” Becker said.

The scores for East Bethel Community School were mixed.

Although EBCS brought its FR score up from 77.64 percent to 82.59 percent, its MMR dropped from 68.22 percent to 54.16 percent.

“FR is a combinations of focused proficiency and achievement gap reductionm,” Becker said. “It doesn’t take into account proficiency and student growth like MMR does.  This is why a school may be show gains in FR but not MMR.”

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]