Achievement gap widens for younger students


(8/16/2017)

by LAURA HAYES

Low-income students and students of color in Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) were again out-performed by their peers, according to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCAs) results.

District leaders called the test results a mixed bag. “There are some areas in which we’ve stayed the same or gained a bit and some areas where we’ve gone down,” Board Chair Ben Baratto said.

The MCAs are state-mandated standardized tests on math, reading, and science taken by students in third grade through high school. The number of high school students that passed the test in science and reading jumped. Fifth grade science scores were above the state in nearly every subgroup. School-wide, Goodview students made considerable progress in both their math and reading scores. However, the test results indicate that the achievement gap is widening in the younger grades. In third grade, 25 percent of African-American students tested were proficient in math. Sixteen percent of African-American third graders were proficient in reading. One African-American eighth grader — or 9.1 percent of African-American eighth graders — was proficient in math, reading, and science.

“I think the data shows that there are some areas where we need to improve as a school district,” new WAPS Superintendent Rich Dahman said.

More Rollingstone, Madison, and Goodview students either met or exceeded expectations on the MCAs compared to last year. Rollingstone’s math scores increased from 88 percent to 89.3 percent and were the highest among all WAPS elementary schools. Whilst Madison’s math scores slid by five percentage points, its reading scores increased marginally. Goodview was the only district school to increase in all tested subjects. In math, 69.3 percent of students were deemed proficient in 2017 compared to 66.7 percent in 2016. Goodview’s reading scores increased from 58.8 percent to 63 percent.

In comparison, Washington-Kosciusko and Jefferson’s scores dipped. A former teacher, Baratto said while test scores fluctuate throughout the years, the overall trend should be upward. “I think we’ve done a lot of good work in all of the schools so when you see a drop like that it’s got to be a little disappointing,” Baratto said.

In early 2016, W-K was named a “Blue Ribbon” school or one of the best schools in the nation. While W-K’s test scores fell by a handful of points this year, the percentage of students who tested as proficient dropped by around 20 percentage points since 2013. In 2013, 82.8 percent of students were proficient in math and 70.6 percent were proficient in reading. In 2017, that number sank to 61.2 percent and 51.4 percent respectively. “What went wrong?” Baratto asked. “Is it some of the systems we’ve put in place? I just don’t know.” Jefferson’s long-range scores were similar. In 2013, 72 percent of students were proficient in math and 61.3 percent in reading. According to state data, this year, those numbers were 62.4 percent and 42.4 percent respectively.

While high school students of color in math and reading and fourth grade students in reading performed better when compared to last year, the achievement gap widened in other areas. According to district data, African-Americans make up the second-largest racial group in the district. The percent of proficient African-American third graders fell from 47.8 percent to 25 percent in math and 45.5 percent to 16.7 percent in reading. The results indicate that 21.4 percent of African-American fourth graders are proficient in math (decreasing from 29.4 percent last year) and 21.4 percent are proficient in reading (up from 17.7 percent last year). One African-American high school student — or 7.1 percent of that group of students — tested proficient in science. In 2016, one African-American seventh grader — or 5.9 percent — met or exceeded expectations in math, and none of these students were proficient in reading. This year, of the now-eighth graders, one African-American student — or 9.1 percent — was proficient in math, reading, and science. Baratto said that while any drop is concerning, the number of African-American students in a grade is small, making any change significant.

While some of the scores of students that qualified for free and reduced lunch prices hovered around the state averages, these students tested anywhere from 20 to 40 percentage points below their peers who do not qualify for these lunch prices. During the 2016-2017 school year, almost 40 percent of the district’s population qualified for free or reduced meals. The most significant gap between these low-income students and their higher-income peers is in fifth grade — the difference is 37.8 percentage points in math and 36.3 points in reading. While 40.9 percent of fifth graders who qualify for free or reduced lunches tested as proficient — above the state average of 39 percent — their scores were doubled (43.7 percentage points to be exact) by their WAPS peers who don’t qualify.

Dahman said WAPS staff want to assure that all students perform at a high level. “We really want to make sure that we’re providing support — both classroom instruction and support for individual and groups of students not reaching the standards,” Dahman said.

“We really want to focus either being at or above those state averages in every grade level and content area. There really isn’t a reason why we shouldn’t be able to achieve on this test a similar or higher level than other average scores across the state,” Dahman said.

In the past, the MCAs have been criticized as a "snapshot" of students’ progress on a specific day. “The test is what it is — a measurement of a students’ performance in those grade-level standards on that specific assessment,” Dahman said. He added the MCAs are not the only assessment district staff use, citing the ACT, internal assessments, and daily assessments. “We want to also look at that data … All those different pieces fit together,” Dahman said.

“I’m not a real fan of all the testing that we’re doing,” Baratto stated. Days spent testing could be used for teaching, he explained. “Testing is not teaching,” Baratto said.


GRADE 3 MATH

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 34,520 / 68.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 144 / 64% (up from 63.7% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,848 / 39%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 3 / 25% (down from 47.8% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 33,448 / 78.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 133 / 70.7% (up from 68.6% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 13,491 / 49.2
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 49 / 48.5% (up from 47.8% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 31,024 / 81.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 95 / 76.7% (down from 80% last year)

READING

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 36,839 / 58.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 124 / 55.6% (up from 53.1% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,307 / 32.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 2 / 16.7% (down from 45.5% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,090 / 66.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 115 / 61.5% (up from 56.6% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 10,269 / 37.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 36 / 36.6% (down from 38.1% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 26,565 / 70.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 88 / 71% (up from 68.1% last year)

GRADE 4 MATH

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 43,739 / 66.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 146 / 64.9% (down from 70.9% last year)
Hispanic
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,842 / 44.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 6 / 42.9% (down from 45.5% last year)
Asian
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,708 / 61%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 4 / 40%
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,616 / 35.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 3 / 21.4% (down from 29.4% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 18,905 / 77.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 124 / 72.5% (down from 77.6% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 12,795 / 47%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 55 / 47.9% (down from 56.6% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 30,932 / 80.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 91 / 82.7% (down from 83.2% last year)

READING


Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 37,131 / 56.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 109 / 48.9% (down from 62.1% last year)
Hispanic
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,143 / 33.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 6 / 42.9% (up from 27.3% last year)
Asian
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,114 / 48.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 2 / 20%
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,139 / 29.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 3 / 21.4% (up from 17.7% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,537 / 66.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 91 / 53.8% (down from 69.4% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 10,012 / 37%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 36 / 31.6% (down from 45.1% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,114 / 70.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 73 / 67% (down from 76.7% last year)

GRADE 5 MATH


Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 36,766 / 57.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 103 / 51% (down from 58.1% last year)
Hispanic
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,062 / 33.4%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 4 / 33.3%
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 1,887 / 27.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 2 / 11.8% (down from 20% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,618 / 66.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 90 / 56.6% (down from 69.4% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 9,238 / 35.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 28 / 30.4 (down from 33.8% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,527 / 71.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 75 / 68.2% (down from 72.6% last year)

READING

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 42,774 / 67.5%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 136 / 67% (up from 64.9% last year)
Hispanic
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,841 / 46.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 8 / 66.6%
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,714 / 39.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 3 / 17.6% (down from 28.6% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 32,806 / 76.5%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 118 / 73.8% (up from 69.2% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 12,383 / 48.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 44 / 47.3% (up from 45.5% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 30,986 / 80.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 92 / 83.6% (up from 76.1% last year)

SCIENCE

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 38,495 / 59.8%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 131 / 64.5% (down from 65% last year)
Hispanic
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,182 / 35.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 5 / 41.7%
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 1,801 / 26.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 2 / 12.5% (down from 40% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 30,346 / 70.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 119 / 73.9% (up from 68.9% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 10,031 / 39%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 38 / 40.9% (down from 48.1% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,461 / 73.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 93 / 84.6% (up from 74.8% last year)

GRADE 6 MATH

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 34,890 / 55.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 104 / 49% (up from 46.2% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,707 / 65.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 95 / 52% (up from 51.2% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 7,991 / 32.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 19 / 27.5% (up from 22.7% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 26,897 / 69.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 85 / 59.5 (down from 61.2% last year)

READING


Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 39,995 / 63.4%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 122 / 57% (down from 57.6% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 30,607 / 72%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 108 / 59.3% (down from 61.2% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 10,558 / 43.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 26 / 36.6% (down from 59% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 29,432 / 76.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 96 / 67.2% (down from 69.7% last year)

GRADE 7 MATH

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 35,125 / 54.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 107 / 44.2 (down from 47.5% last year)
Asian
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,318 / 55.4%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 1 / 10%
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,913 / 64.4%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 101 / 48.8% (down from 52.9% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 7,889 / 32.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 21 / 22.8% (down from 25.4% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,232 / 68.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 86 / 57.4% (down from 58.6% last year)

READING

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 36,720 / 57.5%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 121 / 49.6% (up from 41.5% last year)
Asian
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 2,192 / 52.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 3 / 30%
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,561 / 65.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 110 / 52.7% (up from 46.2% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 9,030 / 37.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 23 / 24.5% (up from 23.9% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,683 / 69.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 98 / 65.3% (up from 50.4% last year)

GRADE 8 MATH

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 36,153 / 58%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 108 / 54% (up from 52.2% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 1,680 / 27.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 1 / 9.1% (down from 17.7% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,689 / 66.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 100 / 59.2% (up from 56.7% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 8,153 / 35.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 23 / 34.8% (down from 35.2% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,996 / 70.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 85 / 63.5% (down from 64.3% last year)

READING

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 36,662 / 58.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 91 / 45.1% (down from 55.1% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 1,973 / 32.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 1 / 9.1% (down from 41.2% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,943 / 66.5%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 83 / 48.6% (down from 57.6% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 8,739 / 38.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 17 / 25.4% (down from 45.6% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,918 / 70.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 74 / 54.8% (down from 61.5% last year)

SCIENCE


Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,291 / 45.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 88 / 43.6% (up from 42.9% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 1,039 / 17%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 1 / 9.1% (down from 17.7% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 23,383 / 54.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 82 / 48.2% (up from 45.9% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 5,610 / 25%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 18 / 27.2% (down from 31.4% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 22,677 / 57.4%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 70 / 51.5% (up from 50.4% last year)

GRADE 10 READING


Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 36,584 / 60.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 134 / 51% (up from 35% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 1,718 / 31%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 5 / 31.3% (up from 7.7% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 29,617 / 67.8 %
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 119 / 53.1% (up from 37.5% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 7,882 / 39.2%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 35 / 36% (up from 16.9% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 28,692 / 70.7%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 99 / 59.7% (up from 45.3% last year)

GRADE 11 MATH

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 27,113 / 48.3%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 66 / 33% (down from 45.5% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 872 / 18%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 2 / 20% (up from 0% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 22,596 / 54.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 61 / 35.3% (down from 49.1% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 4,471 / 26.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 10 / 15.2% (down from 26.4% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 22,642 / 58.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 56 / 41.7% (down from 54.7% last year)

HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE

Total students
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 32,491 / 56%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 92 / 36.3% (up from 30.7% last year)
Black
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 1,195 / 24.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 1 / 7.1% (down from 8.3% last year)
White
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 26,849 / 63.9%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 85 / 38.8% (up from 33.9% last year)
Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 6,402 / 34.1%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 22 / 23.1% (up from 10.6% last year)
No Free Lunch
(state) met or exceeded expectations: 26,081 / 66.6%
(Winona) met or exceeded expectations: 70 / 44% (up from 41.6% last year)

 

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