News & Events
New state accountability system identifies strengths, areas of growth for Edina Public Schools
Overall results remain high, but achievement gap lingers
EDINA, Minn. – Under the state’s new accountability system, Edina Public Schools remains a high performer, with the majority of its schools rating in the top percentiles in the state. The new Multiple Measures Rating (MMR) uses Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) to assess proficiency on the MCAs, academic growth from year to year, achievement gap, and high school graduation rates.
“We applaud all of our students and staff who worked so hard last year and made great academic gains,” said Superintendent Ric Dressen. “While we are always seeking ways that we can improve the learning experience for all students, it is great to see Edina Public Schools being recognized for our achievements.”
In both proficiency and graduation rate, Edina schools continue to perform well. Local students also continue to show annual academic growth, particularly in reading. While progress is being seen in narrowing the achievement gap for some student groups, an achievement gap remains in EPS.
“In looking at the data provided with this MMR rating, we see that while the majority of our students are making significant academic gains each year, the rate of growth is higher for our white students than some of our other student groups, for example students of color, special education students, or English language learners,” explained Dr. Chad Schmidt, the District’s director of research and evaluation. “Given this information, we know that in order to close the gap, we must find ways to help some of our students achieve more than a year’s worth of growth in a single school year.”
According to Dressen, this gap data is part of the reason a large part of the District’s new “All for All” strategic plan is focused on implementing key strategies that will serve to narrow, and eventually close, the gap.
“We know that we can do better by some of our students,” Dressen said. “The MMR results around achievement gap further demonstrate the urgency for us to be intentional in how we personalize instruction so that we can meet students where they are at and get them to where the need to be.”
An additional component to the state’s new accountability system includes recognitions and designations for Minnesota’s Title 1 schools (i.e. schools that receive federal funding based on higher concentrations of free and reduced priced lunch price students). The state identifies two categories for the highest performing Title 1 schools – Reward and Celebration Eligible – and three categories for the lowest performing schools – Continuous Improvement, Focus and Priority. Of the two Title 1 schools in EPS, Cornelia ranked near the middle of all Minnesota Title 1 schools and received no designation. Creek Valley was identified as a Reward School, indicating it rated in the top 15% of all Title 1 schools in the state.
Cornelia had previously been listed as a Reward School when baseline ratings were released last spring. While Cornelia remains above state average, 2012 results indicated that the school’s achievement gap widened for some students, particular with the math results.
“We had a good year at Cornelia in 2011-12, but we know we have areas to improve upon,” noted Cornelia principal Chris Holden. “By applying some focus and key strategies, I am confident our results will improve next year and our students will continue to excel in the future.”
Specifically, Holden identified three strategies being implemented this fall:
- Increased instructional time in mathematics for all students;
- Additional support and resources, including personnel, to address the needs of students performing below grade level; and
- Working across content areas with all staff to increase math literacy.
“Just as we have worked with our staff to implement reading and literacy components in all subject areas, we can do this with math concepts as a way to help students think about math and use their math skills in a variety of settings,” Holden said.
Both Schmidt and Dressen acknowledge that the state’s accountability ratings are based on a single test and do not accurately reflect the entire learning environment of Edina Public Schools. Nonetheless, they said the ratings do provide information and data in new ways that help identify areas of greatest need and where improvements can be made.
Dressen said that the District will be developing action plans to respond to the MMR results as well as other local assessment data collected, with implementation by mid-September.
“We know that Edina has been and is a great school district. These action plans will ensure that we are positioned to remain strong in the future,” he said. “We are now embarking on the next generation of Edina Public Schools. We must prepare our students for a very different world than the one most of us grew up in, which means we have to look at what we teach, how we teach, and most importantly, who we are teaching, with both proven strategies and fresh approaches. Edina has always been a leader in educational excellence, and we will continue to be so for years to come.”
To access Edina Public Schools results, click here