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Many schools saw significant fluctuations — increases or decreases of 50 percentage points or more — on their scores, prompting questions about how they are calculated.
Cassellius chalked up some of the fluctuations to the fact that MMR scores are influenced by the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, which were based on tough new reading standards this year.
“Any time a new test based on new standards is given, we can expect to see variations,” she said.
Five years ago, the tiny A.C.G.C. district was in statutory operating debt. Test scores were lagging. And the district adopted a four-day school week to save money.
Tuesday’s rankings show that A.C.G.C.’s elementary school had one of the biggest MMR gains — almost 80 points on a 100-point scale. Its fifth- and sixth-grade students posted a similar jump.
Broderius said the turnaround is a result of teachers embracing data to improve student instruction; implementing co-teaching; and using the district’s “off day” for intensive planning.
“We’ve transformed,” she said. “We’re not the same district we were even three years ago.”
Minneapolis sees success
Minneapolis saw several schools boost their MMR scores, including a few that shed the Priority and Focus designations. Besides Edison, they include Wellstone International High School and Kenny Elementary.
Patrick Henry High School increased its MMR score from 60 to 80 points and earned a Reward school designation.
“I would say that foundationally, we’ve developed a culture where every student’s greatness is seen and appreciated,” said Principal LaTanya Daniels.
Edison was the first school in Minnesota to receive a visit from Cassellius, who is seeking input from successful schools about turnaround strategies
Sheridan Hills in Richfield is now a “Celebration Eligible” school because of its gains, most notably among students learning English.
“It’s a huge psychological boost, a huge esteem boost for us,” Markworth said.
Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469