Osseo Area Schools MCA test scores improve

Achievement gap persists

The Osseo School District’s proficiency rate is improving at about the same rate as the state based on recently released scores for the 2012 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests. However, the district overall continues to trail the state in both math and reading, and a significant achievement gap persists between white students and other sub-groups.

“Osseo Area Schools showed increases over the previous year, mirroring the statewide trend,” Supt. Kate Maguire said.

The district took the largest strides in math, she said. In grades four and eight, district-wide proficiency increased more than 10 percent. Eighth-graders outperformed the state average in math.

Five elementary schools increased math proficiency more than 10 percent compared to 2011: Birch Grove in Brooklyn Park, Cedar Island in Maple Grove, Fair Oaks in Brooklyn Park, Garden City in Brooklyn Center and Palmer Lake in Brooklyn Park.

In eleventh grade the district’s math proficiency dropped 9 percent, but the statewide rate also dropped 9 percent.

District-wide reading proficiency rose 1.5 percent from 2011. Although the increase is smaller than the increase in math, it marks the fifth consecutive year the district has made gains in reading proficiency.

Maguire highlighted Fair Oaks Elementary’s 10 percent increase in reading proficiency, as well as the overall tenth-grade proficiency increase of 7 percent. Maguire said the reading performance at every high school was strong, and overall grade 10 proficiency rate exceeded that of the state.

“This is especially important because the grade 10 reading test also serves as the state reading graduation test,” she said.

Although the district generally followed the state trends for improvement, overall district performance trailed state performance in both math and reading.

On the MCA II reading test, the district had a 74.4 percent proficiency rate, just shy of the state’s 76 percent proficiency.

On the MCA II math test, Osseo Area Schools had only a 37.2 percent proficiency rate, compared to the state’s 42.5 percent. On the MCA III math test, the district achieved 61.2 percent proficiency, compared to 65.3 percent statewide.

The results weren’t distributed evenly across the district however. At Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, only 21.8 percent of students who took the MCA II math test were proficient, and 66.3 percent were proficient in reading. Compare that to Osseo Senior High, where 32.5 percent of students tested were proficient in math and 79.3 percent in reading.

At Maple Grove High School, the difference was even more striking. Of students who took the MCA II math test, 57 percent demonstrated proficiency. On the reading test, 92.8 percent were proficient.

Maguire acknowledged the test scores showed the achievement gap isn’t closing as quickly as desired.

“There continues to be an unacceptable achievement gap between white students and the student sub-groups tracked by the state,” she said. “While Osseo’s pattern is very similar to the state, the gap remains a critical concern. …While the district is making significant progress in reducing the achievement gap, there is still much work to do.”

Maguire said the district’s updated strategic plan for 2012-2015 specifically aims to make “aggressive gains among sub-groups.”

More detailed information about test scores is available at education.state.mn.us/MDEAnalytics.