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MCA results show need for changes being implemented

Results from the 2015 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), taken by students in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 last spring and received on July 27, mirrored statewide results with math scores generally lower than in 2014 and mixed results in both reading and science.

Overall, at most grade levels, District 191 results were below state averages, supporting the need for many of the changes being implemented through Vision One91 and last spring’s voter-approved referendum.

“On the surface, the results are disappointing because I know we all want to see greater achievement for students because their potential is at stake,” said Superintendent Joe Gothard. “But we are realizing strong results from places where changes are already underway, and we will expect to see this improvement districtwide in coming years.”

In particular, Gothard pointed to Gideon Pond, Sioux Trail, William Byrne and Edward Neill elementary schools, citing their work to use individual student data and more personalized instruction practices. All four schools scored above state averages on most grade-level MCA results and showed improvement in schoolwide reading scores compared to 2014.

The results also show improved achievement at many schools among black, Hispanic and Asian students, especially in reading. Twelve of fourteen schools saw increased reading proficiency among black students, with 11 schools’ scores being above the state averages, continuing a three-year trend of closing the achievement gap in reading between our black and white students in District 191.

This summer, District 191 is providing training to teachers in a few key areas to support their ability to individualize instruction for students. More than 50 secondary teachers attended the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) summer institute for critical reading as all secondary schools will be implementing AVID this year.

At the elementary level, 180 teachers will be participating in a two-day literacy workshop that will focus on a model of instruction called a “Reading Workshop.” This model supports differentiation and gradually helping students to be more responsible for their own learning. Sky Oaks Elementary began piloting this model last year and is already showing some positive results. All elementary teachers will receive the training by November.

These changes, which are focused on personalized learning, will be supported by the increase in technology provided through the Vision One91 referendum. Technology tools, including an online learning management system and adaptive resources, will give students access to the resources that match their needs.

“As a district, we’re undergoing significant changes in structure, programming, facilities and culture as well as instruction and instructional leadership,” Gothard said. ”As part of Vision One91, all of these changes go hand in hand to help us reach our mission of ensuring each student is real-world ready when he or she graduates from Burnsville High School.”

Detailed results are available on the state Department of Education website.

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015 - 08:00