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Chisago Lakes Schools

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September 26, 2022

9/2/2022 12:26:00 PM
Northstar report reactions

The press releases from the state announced the student MCA scoring for the 2022 school year in the annual Northstar Report were “generally showing declines” in the numbers of students statewide meeting or exceeding grade level standards compared to 2021.  

Reviewing the Chisago Lakes and North Branch reports, however, local students are achieving somewhat better outcomes than statewide numbers.
North Branch comprehensive assessment data shows middle schoolers testing  as meeting or exceeding reading standards went up in 2022, from 42 percent to 45 percent.

North Branch  High School  reading and science scoring improved from 31 percent to 50 percent in reading and from 42 percent to 60 percent in science.

Math standards are another story, and were met or exceeded in high school and middle school in North Branch by fewer students in 2022 than in 2021.

North Branch District Superintendent Sara Paul didn’t have much time to digest the data before being asked to comment, but she stated “MCA scores are one important measure to understand the learning needs of each student. MCA data is used ti identify specific areas of struggle for a student...we use multiple sources of qualitative and quantitative data to help students see their areas of strength and to identify stretch goals.”

Supt Paul added that North Branch Area Public Schools is consistently reviewing metrics to support learning.

Chisago Lakes’ high school students’ math prowess also dipped, along with reading and science scoring percentages in comprehensive assessments. (Chisago Lakes High School test assessments percentages have been declining since 2018, according to the Dept. of Education “report card” on-line.)
Yet, Chisago Lakes Middle School students tested better in reading and math assessments. In 2021 37 percent of students testing exhibited “meets or exceeds” ability in math and this went to 46.6 percent in 2022.  

Reading assessments went to 53 percent up from 51 percent in 2021.

Science skills dipped to 29.8 percent meeting or exceeding standards from the 34 percent reported for CL Middle School for 2021.

Like North Branch, Chisago Lakes had only a brief timeframe when contacted, to analyze the assessments.

Sarah Schmidt, Director of Teaching and Learning, said overall the district views the assessments as positive, in consideration of  the English Language learners, the attendance data and other measurements.  She continued, “There are many variables to academic achievement and our teams will be digging into the data to identify areas for celebration and areas marked for improvement.”

Schmidt noted that the testing process in this latest report considered an absent student on test day as “not meeting standards.” In the past an absent pupil test was exempt from scoring.

And, although the grad rate dipped (four-year rate) the district’s seven year grad rate increased.  Students who need more time to achieve a diploma are being given the time and are successfully graduating, Schmidt notes.

Chisago Lakes also was awarded funds for a K-5 literacy coach, the only such funding in the state,  based on a new reading curriculum that has “caught the attention of MDE.”

The annual report card information also contains local graduation rates— which  saw a decline for the last two recent years data was made public. North Branch four year rate was at 89.9 percent and dipped to 82.8 in 2021.  Chisago’s four year rate  was at a high of 94.9 percent and dipped to 91 percent.

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