Congratulations are in order for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District – its teachers, administrators, staff, parents and last but of course not least, its students.
In two recently announced testing reports from the past year, the Sartell students outperformed their peers, in some cases by as much as 25 percent. The two tests were the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the Minnesota Comprehensive Test. Both are assessment tests designed to determine how well students are doing in subjects such as reading, writing, math and science. Not only are test results important to students who want to gain admission to the colleges of their choice, but they are important for the data they provide to educators so any weaknesses can be addressed and any strengths built upon.
On the SAT, Sartell students outdistanced the statewide averages by a healthy margin. And the MCA test results, released just two weeks ago, were remarkable. In every grade that took the test and in three subjects – reading, math, science – Sartell students either met or exceeded proficiency for state standards.
District-wide, the percentage of Sartell students who met or exceeded the state standards was 68.4 percent in reading compared to 59.1 as the statewide average; 78.3 percent in math compared to 61.4 percent statewide and 70.2 percent in science compared to 53.2 percent statewide.
A whopping 80.5 percent of third-graders were proficient or better in math, compared to 71.8 statewide, and even more eighth-graders (84.2 percent) scored proficient or better in math. In every grade, in every subject, Sartell students scored well above 60 percent, with several scores in the 70s and 80s. The average test result for all high-school students in reading skills, for example, was an admirable 80.5 percent whereas the statewide average was only 60.1 percent.
Students in third through eighth grade, as well as high-school students, take the reading and math MCA tests. The science portion is given to fifth-graders, eighth-graders and high school students.
Why such success? The answer is an easy one: superb, caring, dedicated teachers; parental support; and students eager to learn.
We can only hope other schools that didn’t do so well are consulting with the Sartell-St. Stephen School District to find out what the teachers are doing that is so right.
It was also good news the superintendent and director of learning aren’t crowing about such good test scores, even though they have a reason to. While gratified by the scores, both are vowing to work even harder to see how to make learning even more effective.
Just about every time Newsleader reporters have asked people why they moved to Sartell, the answer is invariable: Excellent schools, they say. That is almost always the number-one reason given, other than moving to the city because of a job. And many have said if the school district were not so highly rated, they wouldn’t have moved to Sartell, job or not. The quality of education, in other words, was the deciding factor.
Excellent schools, indeed. After these recent test scores, the proof is in the pudding.