Independent School District 728 (ISD 728) continues to outperform the state’s largest districts and the Minnesota average when it comes to the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments Version III (MCA III) exams, based on the results released by the Minnesota Department of Education.
As it did in 2015-2016, ISD 728 continued its strong performance in all 3 areas of the test (math, reading, and science) and increased its ranking against all districts in the state. A spot among the best in the state when it comes to proficiency in math. Meanwhile, the district continues to dominate the state average when it comes to average test scores in reading and science.
The Minnesota Department of Education releases the MCA III exam results prior to the start of each school year. The comprehensive assessments examine proficiency in the three core subjects for educators across elementary, middle and high school levels.
“It’s really exciting and something we can be very proud of as a school district,” said Dr. Jana Hennen-Burr, ISD 728 Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. “The student success is a sign of our success as a team of educators. We’re proud, as a leadership team, that our teachers are putting our students in a position to achieve and truly thrive.”
Out of the top 10 largest school districts in Minnesota, ISD 728 placed first in overall math scores. The district’s proficiency rate of 75 percent topped the state average by 16 percent, and was a 2 percent increase over 2015 MCA III math results. In reading, ISD 728 placed third among the 10 largest school districts in the state with a 70 percent proficiency rate.
This rate was 10 percent higher than the state and represents an increase of one percent over 2016 results. In science, the district ranked third among the 10 largest district’s in the state with a proficiency rate of 65%. Although science proficiency was flat, compared to 2016, there was an overall decrease in proficiency across the state.
Since 2013 the district has widened the gap between itself and state in terms of overall proficiency on all tests. While the state has dropped in overall proficiency in math (63 to 59 percent), the district has increased from 71 to 75 percent. In reading and science, the state’s increase of 2 percent in each area was eclipsed by the district’s increase in reading, 8 percent, and science, 6 percent.
“While our proficiency rates continue to improve what is really impressive is the percentage of students who continue to perform in the “Exceeds the Standard” category. Over 35 percent of our students who participated in the math MCA III scored at the highest level, more than 10 percent better that the statewide average. In reading and science our student performance is better than the state as well,” said Dr. Joseph Stangler, ISD 728 Director of Research and Assessment.
Third-grade students notched the highest proficiency rate in math, 83 percent, which is 15% higher than the state average proficiency rate. The largest differential with the state occurred in both sixth and seventh grade where the district owns an 18 percent over the state.
Reading results were also very good, as the district improved its overall proficiency rate to over 70 percent of students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards. That’s the highest point in district history, and 10-point margin over the state’s average, also a district record.
The gap between ISD 728 and the state is in double-digits in most grade levels with the largest gap occurring in third grade.
Elementary students set the pace on the science assessments with more than 71 percent of fifth-graders met or exceeded the standard on their MCA exam, vs. just 60 percent statewide. Overall the district topped the state by more than 10 percentage points, with 65 percent of students meeting proficiency standards while only 55 percent of students, statewide, met proficiency standards.
“Year over year ISD 728 continues to increase its level of proficiency and increase our ranking across the state,” Stangler said. “That’s a testament to the parents, students, staff, and administration throughout the district.”