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Douglas County area students do OK on state tests assessments

In some areas, Alexandria students score higher than state average.

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DOUGLAS COUNTY — State assessment scores were released Aug. 25 by the Minnesota Department of Education and Douglas County students fared OK.

According to a news release from Alexandria Public Schools, students continue to score above state averages in reading, math and science in the percent of students proficient.

The state tests measure students' learning of the state academic standards in reading, math and science. All students in grades 3 through 8 take the tests in reading and math; grade 10 students take a reading test; grade 11 students take a math test; and students in grades 5 and 8, along with students taking biology, take the science test.

Students are assigned an achievement level based on their scale score. Students at the "meets and exceeds" achievement levels are considered proficient on the state assessment. These assessments are part of Minnesota’s educational accountability system.

State achievement levels on standardized tests dropped significantly following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Education does not require students to demonstrate proficiency as a requirement for graduation.

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According to the MDE website, which puts out a “Report Card” for all school districts, the Alexandria district as a whole has steadily declined in the area of math since 2018. Here is a look at the data:

  • 2018: 70.5% met the standards (1,544 students took the test)
  • 2019: 65.5% met the standards (1,444 students took the test)
  • 2020: N/A because of COVID
  • 2021: 54.7% met the standards (1,043 students took the test)
  • 2022: 54.4% met the standards (1,083 students took the test)

However, Alexandria students continue to outperform their state peers in math. The state average was 44.8% – 9.6% lower than Alexandria.
For reading, Alexandria was 2.7% higher than the state average – 53.8% versus 51.1%.

But again, there has been a steady decline in reading, according to the information from the MDE’s Report Card.

  • 2018: 66.9% met the standards (1,492 students took the test)
  • 2019: 65.7% met the standards (1,457 students took the test)
  • 2020: N/A
  • 2021: 56.6% met the standards (1,086 students took the test)
  • 2022: 53.8% met the standards (1,099 students took the test)

As for science, test scores were the same in both 2021 and 2022 – 43.4% with 365 students taking the science test in 2021 and 382 students taking it in 2022. The scores in 2018 and 2019 were similar to each other, but were higher than 2021 and 2022. There were 496 students in 2018 who took the test with 51.5% meeting the standards, while in 2019, there were 520 taking the test with 54.5% meeting the standards.
In the press release from Alexandria Public Schools, some data "celebration points" were shared, including the following:

  • There was a 9.3% increase in students proficient in reading at Grade 5
  • There was a 4.2% increase in students proficient in math at Grade 4
  • There was a 2.6% increase in students proficient in reading at Grade 3
  • There was a 2.8% increase in students proficient in math at Grade 11
  • There was a 9.6% increase in high school students proficient in science

“Minnesota’s statewide assessments represent a snapshot of student learning of the standards. These results are used as one part of a comprehensive system,” said Darcy Josephson, assistant superintendent — Teaching and Learning. “Our building leadership teams and district teams review the data to assist in developing strategies to meet the needs of students at Alexandria Public Schools.”

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Darcy Josephson

Brandon-Evansville School District

Scores declined over the past year in the Brandon-Evansville School District, except for science, which saw a slight uptick to 54.5% proficiency, compared to 52.9% in 2021. A total of 61 students took the test in 2022 and 64 took the test in 2021.

The district's math score for 2022 was 62% proficiency, compared to 68.9% the previous year. A total of 171 students took the 2022 test compared to 193 students in 2021.

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The district's reading score was 49.1%, compared to 55.3% in 2021. A total of 136 students took the 2022 test while 156 students took it in 2021.

Osakis School District

There were slight changes in the scores at Osakis School District.

The district's math score for 2022 was 57.3% proficiency, compared to 57.5% the previous year. A total of 255 students took the test while 229 students completed it in 2021.

The district's reading score for 2022 was 53.6%, compared to 52.4% in 2021. A total of or 244 students took the newest test compared to 232 students in 2021.

The district's science score for 2022 was 58.6% proficiency, compared to 63.6% in 2021. This year, 116 students took the test, up from the 82 students that tested in 2021.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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