The Minnesota Department of Education’s scores for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments have been released, and both Mora and Ogilvie School Districts saw improvement over last year.
Overall, Mora schools fared better than the Minnesota statewide average. In reading, 61% of Mora Public School students met or exceeded grade-level standards, compared to 51% statewide. In math, 52% of Mora students met or exceeded, compared to 45% statewide; in science, 49% of students met or exceeded compared to 41% statewide.
Mora secondary students in reading scored at 54.4%, the same as in 2021. Students improved in math, scoring at 40.3% compared to its 2021 score of 37.3%. Science scores, however, dropped from 2021; students scored at 49.3% last year but 40.4% for 2022.
At Mora Elementary, students had a stellar year, with test scores closing in on pre-pandemic levels, said Mora Elementary Principal Randy Qual.
“We were astounded at how well our recovery plan went last year,” Qual said. “Though there are students that are still struggling in some areas, our scores did rebound to near pre-pandemic levels in science and reading, and actually exceeded our 2019 math results.”
Mora Elementary averaged a score of 68.4% in reading, compared to a state score of 51.7%. In science, the average was 68.5% to the state’s 41.3%, and in math, Mora students scored at 65.1% compared to the state’s average of 45.5%.
Qual attributed the improvements to the school’s classroom teachers who identified struggling students and provided supplemental instruction.
“Our (special education) team and Title interventions really honed in on the students that needed additional support, and it was clear the impact that all of our staff had on the kids last year,” Qual said. “I have never seen our staff work harder and we were ecstatic to see the hard work from everyone paid off so quickly. Our three-year recovery plan was almost fulfilled in one year based on the MCA data for grades three through six and our FAST data for (kindergarten through second grade).”
The three-year recovery plan Qual is speaking of is, according to Superintendent Dan Voce, is a statewide initiative to get students back to pre-COVID scores.
“Each school had to develop a learning recovery plan in order to receive federal funding,” Voce said. “Twenty percent of the (elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds) had to be spent on learning recovery.” Mora schools received more than $2.4 million in ESSER funding.
“We hired an elementary interventionist at the primary level,” Voce said. “At the high school, we hired an interventionist to help out with creating student plans, and we hired an (Alternative Learning Center) instructor to help the students in there.
“We also hired a credit-recovery person, some tutoring at the elementary level and a mid-level ALC paraprofessional,” he added. “So the recovery plans were all focused around student support.”
In a news release announcing the scores, Voce said, “We are incredibly proud of our students, staff and families for their continued efforts to help all students achieve and reach their potential.”
Ogilvie scores well
In Ogilvie, students improved district-wide. In reading, students averaged a score of 47.2% overall, slightly down from the state average of 51%, but up from the 2021 average of 35.6%. Math scores were at 36.2%, up from 2021’s average of 34.1%; science scores also improved over 2021, from 32.1% to 40%. State averages for math and science were 45% and 41%, respectively.
At the elementary level, Ogilvie students made huge leaps in reading over 2021, jumping from a 40.2% average to 50.35%. Science scores also improved, from 33.3% in 2021 to 47.1% in 2022. Math had a downturn, however, with students’ average scores dipping from 44.4% in 2019 to 34.2% in 2022.
Ogilvie High School students showed great improvement in all three domains, with reading scores averaging 43.5% in 2022, compared to 32.1% in 2019; math scores jumping to 38.9% from 26.8% a year ago; and science scores moving to 36.8%, up from 31.5% last year.