The percent of district students who met the GRAD reading requirement in grade 10 increased from 81 percent in 2010 to 83 percent in 2011. State proficiency was at 78 percent in 2010 and 79 percent in 2011.
In math, Anoka-Hennepin students scored well above the state average at elementary and middle levels on math, but slightly below the state average at the high school level (grade 11 tested).
The district cannot make comparisons with previous years for elementary and middle school math because students took a new test this year (MCA-III). Johnna Rohmer-Hirt, director of Research, Evaluation and Testing, said according to the state, the new test is more difficult because it tests more difficult standards that put students on track to be ready for college and career.
"We saw a gain of nearly five points in the percentage of students scoring at a proficient level on the high school test," Rohmer-Hirt said, "however, we remain slightly below the state proficiency percentage."
Jeff McGonigal, interim associate superintendent of high schools, said the district has seen a strong trend of math improvement at the high school and believe some of the strategies implemented contributed to the improvement, but the district isn't satisfied yet.
"For that reason we have brought in some national experts who are providing intensive staff development for our high school teachers," McGonigal said. "They are going directly into our classrooms to observe math teachers and coach them in new approaches to help students learn. We believe this will eventually result in high school scores that exceed the state average."
The district average percentage of students achieving proficiency for math was 59 percent in 2011, which was slightly higher than the state average percentage of 56 percent.
In grade 11, students continued to take the MCA-II math assessment. All students, including grade 11, were included in this calculation. Because of the new math assessment, 2011 proficiency levels cannot be compared to proficiency levels from previous years.
A portion of the grade 11 math accountability test, called the GRAD, is used to determine if students meet the math requirements for graduation. Students who don't pass must retake it each year until they pass or meet the math requirement in an alternate manner.
The percent of Anoka-Hennepin students who were proficient on the GRAD math test increased from 55 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2011 in comparison with state proficiency of 58 percent in 2010 to 59 percent in 2011.
The percentage of Anoka-Hennepin students scoring at a proficient level increased slightly from 54 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2011.
At the state level, 48 percent were proficient in 2010 and 48 percent were proficient in 2011. This test is given in grades five, eight and to students taking high school biology.
The performance of Anoka-Hennepin students on the GRAD writing test decreased slightly from 92 percent in 2010 to 90 percent in 2011; however, these percentages remain above the state average.
The state average was 91 percent in 2010 and 89 percent in 2011. This test, which is also required for graduation, is first administered to students in grade nine. Students who don't pass must take it each year until they pass.
Note: Anoka-Hennepin and state proficiency rates were obtained from the MDE website in November 2011.
The MCA math proficiency rates include proficiency on the MCA, MTAS, and MCA-Modified. The MCA reading proficiency rates include proficiency on the MCA, MCA-Modified and MTAS.
When looking at all students as a group, Anoka-Hennepin made AYP. However, the district did not make AYP in some student groups in both reading and math. Therefore, the district is identified as not making AYP, and is in Stage 3 Correction Action.
District staff are continually reviewing programs and making needed improvements to ensure that all students gain the math and reading skills they need to be successful in life.
Through the district's work with Sharon Kraemer of Solution Tree, teachers have received training to understand data and the skills to use that data effectively to customize instruction for each student. In addition, the district continues to develop and implement plans to provide more intensive instruction for students who need additional help with math and literacy at all grade levels. Leveled Literacy Intervention is one such program that provides explicit literacy instruction to students below grade level. We invite parents to work with us to achieve the educational goals for our students. Specific parent involvement opportunities are offered; watch for them in your school's newsletter or on your school's website.
In addition, at the secondary level, district staff are working to develop consistent curriculum and common assessments in all courses. This will increase accountability and ensure that students in all schools are taught the same high-quality district curriculum, which is aligned with all appropriate standards.
The district has also developed plans to improve education of students with special needs by providing training to help all teachers work more effectively with these students, providing specialized technology matched to students' unique educational needs, and expanding opportunities for preschool students as well as students transitioning from school to work or post-secondary education. The district will continue to train staff in using the best instructional practices to meet the needs of all learners.