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Overall reading and math scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests have decreased over the last three years for students at Stillwater Area Public Schools. Science scores of the MCA increased in 2019. (Graphic by Kim Schneider)

While Stillwater Area Public Schools (SAPS) students consistently fair better than most Minnesota students on standardized tests, SAPS 2019 math and reading proficiencies decreased compared to 2018 scores.

According to recently released Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) score analysis from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), SAPS’ proficiency declines follow a statewide trend. SAPS students scored well on science last year, also performing above the state average.

Analysis showed most SAPS schools math proficiency percentages declined.

Lake Elmo Elementary School saw the biggest drop, a nearly 14% difference, from 69.2% in 2018 to 55.3% in 2019. Lily Lake Elementary also saw a 5% decrease and Stonebridge Elementary’s math proficiency decreased by about 6%. SAHS’ math proficiency decreased about 7% from 2018-2019. Notably, Afton-Lakeland Elementary and Stillwater Middle School (SMS) both improved in math proficiency.

Overall, reading proficiency at SAPS schools decreased slightly from 69.3% in 2018 to 68.4% proficiency in 2019. Lake Elmo Elementary’s proficiency percentage saw the largest decrease from 65.3% in 2018 to 54.4% in 2019. Lily Lake Elementary and SMS saw the largest increases at about a 5% increase.

Science proficiency scores slightly increased statewide. Overall, SAPS schools increased in science proficiency from 59.5% in 2018 to 63.2% in 2019. Most schools saw an increase in science proficiency, except for Lake Elmo Elementary and Stonebridge Elementary, which both decreased about 7% last year when compared to 2018.

On the other end of the spectrum, Brookview Elementary’s science proficiency increased from 63.2% in 2018 to 78.3% in 2019. SMS made a similar leap from 36.6% proficiency in 2018 to 49.9% proficiency in 2019.

English Language Learners (ELL) faired well in math compared to the statewide average but fell below the state average in reading proficiency for ELLs. Nearly 14% of ELL students statewide were proficient in reading while 8.5% of SAPS ELL students were proficient. In 2018, SAPS ELL students were above the state average at 14.8% proficiency.

The MDE’s Minnesota Report Card also contains analysis for students’ feelings of engagement and safety at school. According to the analysis of a survey taken in 2016, a median of 95% of SAPS students felt safe at school, slightly above state average.

SAHS graduation rates increased from 92.5% in 2017 to 95% in 2018, putting SAHS’ graduation rate nearly 12% above the statewide average. Additionally, 74% of SAHS students enrolled in college in 2018, 11% above the state average.

Interestingly, 36% of SAPS students are enrolled in AP classes, while the statewide average is 32%. The percentage of those students who take the AP exams is far above the statewide average at 57%, compared to 32% statewide.

Additionally, the percentage of SAPS students taking Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) classes is slightly below statewide average at 4%, compared to 9%. Similarly, 26% of SAPS students enrolled in College in Schools (CIS) classes, compared to the statewide average of 33%.

In comparison, a whopping 85% of St. Croix Preparatory Academy (SCPA) Upper students enrolled in AP classes while 9% enrolled in PSEO classes. Additionally, all students enrolled in AP classes at SCPA in 2019 took the AP exams, according to the Minnesota Report Card.

SCPA Upper had a slight decrease in graduation rates from 97.5% in 2017 to 94.3% in 2018. According to the analysis, 76% of SCPA students enrolled in college in 2018.

Additionally, SCPA Upper and Lower increased proficiencies in math and reading while SCPA Middle slightly decreased. Notably, SCPA Upper’s science proficiency jumped from 85.9% in 2018 to 94.2% in 2019. SCPA Lower and Middle science proficiency percentages remained level.

Students at River Grove Charter School, also known as Marine Area Community School, were 48.9% proficient in math, compared to the statewide average of 55.5%. For all grades, River Grove students were 60.9% proficient in reading, slightly above the state’s percentage of 59.7%.

River Grove’s 2019 science score analysis was not available.

Contact Kim Schneider at kim.schneider@ecm-inc.com

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