Lincoln Elementary students

Lincoln Elementary students

According to Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) scores released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) on August 29, Alexandria Public Schools (APS) students continue to score above state averages in reading and math proficiency.

The MCA tests measure how students are doing on state academic standards in mathematics and reading. All students in grades 3 - 8 take the tests in reading and math, grade 10 students take a reading test and grade 11 students take a math test. Grade level proficiency is determined by the students who meet or exceed state standards. These proficiency tests are part of Minnesota’s educational accountability system. MDE does not require students to demonstrate proficiency as a requirement for graduation.

The spring 2019 data reveals that:

• Alexandria students outperformed their state peers in math by 10.8 percentage points (spring 2019: APS, 65.7%; State, 54.9%); and by 12.77 percentage points (3-year average: APS, 70.03%; State, 57.26%).

• Alexandria students’ outpaced their state peers in reading by 6.5 percentage points (spring 2019: APS, 65.6%; State, 59.1%); and by 7.43 percentage points (3-year average: APS, 66.63%; State, 59.2%).

• Data celebration points include:

o A 9% increase in reading proficiency at the high school. The district attributes this to content literacy work and the belief that reading is important in all subject areas.

o Reading progress for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch improved by 2%.

o Grade 4 students had an increase of 4 percentage points in reading;

o Grade 6 students had an increase of 2 percentage points in reading.

“Test scores are just one measure to help us understand a student’s academic progress,” stated Rick Sansted, Assistant Superintendent – Teaching & Learning. “We know that not all students learn at the same pace. Our building leadership teams will use the data to help develop strategies to meet the unique needs of our students and to support them to reach their full potential.”

The state’s North Star accountability system connects the state’s plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and World’s Best Workforce requirements to enable MDE to identify schools and districts for support. The system evaluates schools across multiple measures – academic progress, English language proficiency for students learning English, graduation rates, and consistent attendance.