by Mike Knaak
The latest statewide school test scores showed students in the Sartell-St. Stephen district continue to exceed state averages and overall show a high level of performance.
The state Department of Education released on Aug. 28 the latest performance scores based on five indicators – achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress towards English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance.
The results recognize top performers as well as highlight areas that need improvement and attention.
Sartell-St. Stephen district exceeded the state average in all indicators.
In reading achievement, Sartell students scored 72.06 percent compared with 58.29 percent statewide. In math achievement, Sartell students scored 75.24 percent compared with 53.85 percent statewide. Achievement scores are calculated by the number of students that meet or exceed standards divided by the number of all students tested.
Sartell students’ yearly progress in math and reading also exceeded the statewide average. In reading, Sartell scored 2.37 compared with 2.00 statewide and in math, Sartell scored 2.48 compared with 2.33 statewide.
“Our kids performed quite well on state measurements,” sid Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert. “We compare very well in Central Minnesota, (but) I always want us to get better.”
In attendance, 91.46 percent of students attended at least 90 percent of the time compared with 85.20 percent statewide.
Sartell’s four-year graduation rate of 98.19 percent topped the state level of 82.42 percent. That performance places Sartell High School in the state’s top 5 percent of public school districts for graduation rates.
“Our high school works to get all our kids past that step in their lives,” Schwiebert said.
Detailed results show two student groups that need attention, Schwiebert said.
Students receiving special-education services and students eligible for free or reduced-price meals scored significantly lower than the overall student population. There are 411 students in the special education group and 353 students in the free or reduced meals group.
“We need interventions in the classroom to help kids who don’t perform as well,” Schwiebert said.
Additional space in the new high school this year and for students in kindergarten through eighth grade should help those scores on future tests, he said. The new high school provides more space for active learning instead of packing students in a classroom.
The 2019 scores were very similar to results from 2018, with some indicators slightly higher and some slightly lower.
The average progress toward meeting individual targets for English learners showed significant improvement from 2018 to 2019. Although that includes only 34 students, the percentage of students who met or exceeded their target increased from 42.42 percent to 82.35 percent.
To view detailed scores for all Minnesota schools, go to http://rc.education.state.mn.us.