On July 28, the Minnesota Department of Education released student proficiency percentages in reading, mathematics, and science. These standards-based accountability assessments, called Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs), are required annually of Minnesota students in response to Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation.
White Bear Lake Area School District scores rose in math and science for 2016. District 2016 MCA tests results now range from five to eight points higher than state averages.
The district's math proficiency was 66.3%, 7 percentage points higher than the state as a whole. Math scores show a 1.6 percentage point increase over the 2015 school year assessment, while the state's math scores decreased. Since new state standards in 2011, math scores for the White Bear Lake Area Schools have risen 3.7 percentage points.
Results of the district's science test, taken by student in grades 5, 8 and by most students at grade 10, were nearly 8 points higher than the state at 62.4%. District results are 1.8 points higher than 2015, and 4.7 percentage points higher than the first year the test assessed new state science standards in 2012.
Reading proficiency within the district remained unchanged at 64.6%, 5 points higher than the state. Since 2013, when the test was changed to reflect new Minnesota state standards, both the district and the state have seen only modest gains.
Recognizing that student growth in reading has been slower than in math and science, in the spring of 2016 the School Board approved a reallocation of current resources to provide elementary teachers with literacy coaches to support improvements. Preparatory work has occurred this summer, with the new support model beginning this fall.
"This annual MCA snapshot of student progress is one of several measures we use to assure all our students are at or above grade level proficiency," said Michael Lovett, Superintendent. "While this is the most public measure of student progress, other measures are critical to an understanding of student progress over time. Especially important are the increasing number of students successfully taking college-level work at the high school level and our seniors graduating ready for college and career."
For 2015-16, two-thirds of White Bear Lake Area High School seniors were enrolled in at least one college-level course, including Advanced Placement; College in the Schools and Project Lead the Way through the University of Minnesota; and the innovative new Manufacturing Pathway Program.
Another significant benchmark was achieved in November 2015, when a district partnership with Century College was honored with University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute Innovation Award for college courses that count toward both high school graduation and Century College credit.
"We acknowledge the outstanding work of staff, the commitment of students and families, and the innovative partnerships with our community," added Lovett. "We are committed to the goal that all students develop a genuine love for learning and are on course to excel academically."