MANKATO — Bridges Community Elementary School in Mankato leads the pack among Mankato Area Public schools in state test scores released today.
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test results break down proficiency in math and reading, beginning with grade 3. The test is one factor in determining a school’s Multiple Measurements Rating, which is the new assessment criteria under the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver.
The ratings — which include points based on proficiency, student growth, closure in achievement gap and graduation rate — will be released at the end of August.
(For individual school results for all schools in the state, broken down by grade and subject, go to education.state.mn.us and click on the Data Center link at the top, right.)
Bridges was the only school in the Mankato district with a grade level reported as being 100 percent proficient. The fifth-graders were 100 percent proficient in reading.
Lead teacher Robin Courrier said it’s not the first time a grade level at the school has achieved 100 percent proficiency. But the news is still exciting, she said.
“That’s fantastic,” Courrier said.
She said the fifth-grade students at Bridges have always been over-achievers, from the time they were in kindergarten.
“When you look at a classroom, you imagine a real strong percentage of kids who are average or above, a small portion way above average, and a small portion below average,” she said. “But this fifth grade going through, probably 75 percent of those kids are way above average. ... In my 28 years, I’ve never seen a class collectively as strong as that class.”
In math in grades 3 through 5, Bridges students were more than 95 percent proficient, and at least 90 percent proficient in reading. Scores dipped in sixth grade for Bridges in reading. While the fifth grade is 100 percent proficient in reading, the sixth-graders are 76.2 percent proficient. (Unlike when the school first opened, classrooms at Bridges are now divided by grade level.)
“It’s nothing that I can speak specifically to,” Courrier said. “I will just say there’s a difference in kids and a difference in abilities.”
Districtwide, Mankato scored above the state average at all grade levels in both reading and math, said Gwen Walz, Mankato Schools assessment coordinator. In grade 6 math, for example, Mankato schools had 74 percent proficiency, 15 percent higher than the state average.
Supt. Sheri Allen said the continued gains year after year validates the work that teachers and staff are doing.
“That’s very reflective of that purposeful work that’s happened over time,” Allen said.
Walz said the MCA results factor into determining proficiency, growth and the achievement gap for the Multiple Measurements Rating, so the test results are important in determining benchmarks and coming up with plans to move forward.
“The accountability system in MMR has changed, but it’s still based on the MCA proficiency levels,” Walz said.
Individually, Jefferson, Monroe and Eagle Lake elementaries also were among those that had strong proficiency percentages on the MCAs, with various grades scoring in the 90th percentile in both reading and math.
Mankato East Junior High’s percentages were on the lower end of the district showing. In math, seventh-graders were 55.4 percent proficient and eighth-graders were 63.1 percent proficient. In reading, seventh was 62.5 percent proficient, and eighth was 65 percent proficient.
Math was the difficult subject for both Mankato high schools. Only 58.5 percent of West 11th-graders were proficient in math, and 46.4 percent of East juniors were proficient.
Regionally, St. Clair Elementary School fifth-graders struggled in math, with only 29.4 percent of students achieving proficiency. In grade 7 at St. Clair Secondary, 40.6 percent of students were proficient in math, and in eighth grade, 40.7 were proficient.
In reading, St. Clair’s third grade was 38.7 percent proficient.
St. Clair Supt. Tom Bruels said some of the scores were lower than is typical for the district. Previously, he said math scores had been on the rise.
"It was surprising in some areas, certainly," he said.
He said the district will compare the MCA scores to other means of assessment within the schools and see if there are issues that need to be addressed. In the meantime, he said the district will move forward with its curriculum, which includes a new reading program this year.