MCA scores released by the Minnesota Department of Education showed that, overall, Forest Lake area students increased in proficiency in both reading and math in 2012 compared with their results in 2011, and overall the school district is continuing to perform better than students statewide.
In the math test, 66.0 percent of FLAS students were rated proficient, and 79.2 percent were rated proficient in reading. That compares to state proficiency rates of 62.1 percent in math and 76.0 percent in reading. Students in grades 3 to 8 and grade 11 were tested in math; students in grades 3 to 8 and grade 10 were tested in reading.
Compared to last year’s results, math proficiency increased at every grade level in grades 3 to 8 for Forest Lake area students. In reading, 7th grade scores increased by 2.4 percent, 8th grade by 4.9 percent, and 10th grade by 2.7 percent. District students in 3rd grade saw a 2 percent jump in reading proficiency.
The increases in scores were generally consistent with statewide increases, district assessment coordinator Lloyd Komatsu said, as was an overall decrease in math proficiency for 11th graders. Statewide, math proficiency at that grade level dropped by about 6 percent, but 11th graders at Forest Lake High School saw a more pronounced decline of 13 percent.
Statewide, math proficiency among 11th graders went from 48.6 in 2011 to 42.5 percent this year. Forest Lake students went from 59.3 percent proficiency last year to 46.1 percent.
“It is unclear why 11th graders at our high school saw a decline in proficiency of this degree,” Komatsu said. “Statewide there was an overall decline, which may account for part of it. We will continue to monitor other standardized math tests that we conduct every year, as well as next year’s MCA testing scores, in order to see if this is indicative of a trend or simply an anomaly. It’s difficult to determine because 11th graders have seen both large gains and losses over the past two years.”
In 2011, Forest Lake 11th graders saw a 11.1 percent increase in proficiency from the previous year.
Even with the drop this past year, Forest Lake 11th graders still tested at a 3.6-percent higher proficiency rate than statewide results this past year, as was the case at nearly every grade level in every school in the district.
“Overall, we’re definitely pleased to see this kind of growth in student achievement,” said Forest Lake Superintendent Linda Madsen. “We certainly need to monitor our results at the 11th grade level, which have been volatile. Hopefully, additional data will guide us in adjusting our curriculum accordingly.”