Montevideo surpassed the state average in all four high school comprehensive exams in 2011.

Montevideo surpassed the state average in all four high school comprehensive exams in 2011. 

With the release of the final scores this last week, Monte­video High School fared well in math, reading, writing and science.

In the area of math, Monte­video showed the biggest improvement from last year and also the greatest distinction over the state average. 

Sixty percent of Montevideo juniors passed the MCA portion of the test, up from 36 percent  the previous spring. This compares to 49 percent statewide, up from 43 percent. 

“The senior class, juniors last year, should be proud of their results in comparison to the state,” math teacher Eric Schwankl said.

District Assessment Coord­inator Monica Stueck pointed out that the math department has done a lot of work to better align curriculum with the state tests. Test data also gives credit to the students. She said that this class has done very well on state testing throughout their career.

Minnesota sophomores took the reading portion of the test, with 76 percent of Montevideo students passing, compared to 75 percent statewide. Montevideo saw a slight decrease from last year’s 81 percent, while the average remained constant state­wide.

The reading and math tests are graduation requirements for Minnesota students but also evaluate a school’s curriculum and instruction. The 60 percent in math and 75 percent in reading indicate Montevideo students who scored at a proficient level.

Students can also pass the tests by scoring well on select questions on each exam. “The GRAD tests are questions that are embedded in the MCA test,” Stueck said. “You can pass the MCA by getting a passing score on all the questions or you can pass the GRAD by getting a passing score on those certain questions.” 

Locally, an additional 3 percent in math and 6 percent in reading passed through the GRAD questions.

The third required exam for graduation is the GRAD test in writing. The result released at the end of the school year showed 92 percent of Montevideo freshmen passing, compared to 89 percent statewide. This reflects a drop of 4 percent locally and 2 percent statewide, compared with 2010.

Results released in August showed Monte­video students reaching proficiency in science at a 51 percent rate, compared to 48 percent statewide. 

The science test is not a graduation requirement but merely evaluates the school’s overall program. For both Montevideo and the state this indicates a drop of less than 1 percent compared to 2010.

Minnesota students take MCA tests in math and reading in grades 3-8 as well. 

The state uses these yearly indicators to evaluate school districts and not individual students. In all but one grade in math and a different grade in reading, Montevideo scored at or slightly below state averages.  These numbers have caught the attention of Stueck and others. 

“We are very concerned about the numbers,” she said. “Teachers are looking at curriculum to see what we need to change.”

Stueck and the administration have already indentified several factors that have likely contributed to these scores. 

“The larger class sizes are part of the reason, but also we have larger subgroups that we are working with now.” Such sub-groups include special education students and English language learners.

Looking at the positive data from the high school scores, Stueck is optimistic that steps can be taken to ensure high scores throughout. 

“We need to pass the referendum to keep the resources we have and hopefully pass the second question on the referendum so we can provide even better resources for all students.”