Test Scores Decrease Again

From the July 15 edition of the Sun Post:

Students in Robbinsdale Area Schools scored lower on the 2010 math and reading Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment II (MCA-II) tests than district students last year, and lower than students statewide, according to results released July 1 by the Minnesota Department of Education.

However, students at the Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School in New Hope exceeded statewide scores on both math and reading, as did students at Sonnesyn Elementary in New Hope.

Students at Zachary Lane Elementary in Plymouth exceeded the statewide scores on math.

Improvement over last year’s scores occurred at seven District 281 schools:

– Armstrong High School, Plymouth: Reading scores improved

– Cooper High School, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved

– Meadow Lake Elementary, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved.

– Neill Elementary, Crystal: Both math and reading scores improved.

– Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion Elementary, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved.

– Sonnesyn Elementary, New Hope: Both math and reading scores improved

– Zachary Lane Elementary, Plymouth: Both math and reading scores improved.

About the same percentage of students passed the math, reading and written composition Graduation Required Assessment for Diploma (GRAD) tests in 2010 compared to last year. Students are required to reach proficiency in the GRAD tested areas of writing, reading and math in order to receive a high school diploma.

The achievement gap between white students and minority students did not increase or decrease.

Superintendent Dr. Aldo Sicoli said the following in reaction to the test scores; “These results are not as good as we would like them to be.  We are committed to the academic success of our students. We are continuing implementation of programs that we believe will help more students improve their state test results.”

Gee, we haven’t heard that before.  I thought lower class sizes were supposedly going to bring us great results.  Poverty must be the reason we can’t score well.  Remember according to the district and their apologists poor kids are all stupid.

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4 Responses to “Test Scores Decrease Again”

  1. give2attain Says:

    Yes, I must be one of those apologists… However, I do not think they are stupid… I think that the poor students have almost insurmountable obstacles to overcome. Here are some advantages that my own children have that many poor students do not:

    – Parents that both speak English fluently and have read to them daily since they were infants.
    – A parent (ie Mom in our case) that has been home for them everyday after school since they started school.
    – A parent (ie Mom) who held them accountable daily for reading, studying, doing homework, etc
    – A parent (ie Mom) who taught them self control, listening and study skills that help them everyday in class
    – A parent (ie Dad) that makes enough money to enable this, and parents that make financial life choices that make this possible.
    – Parents that are very familiar with working systems and bureaucracies to ensure their kids get as many opportunities as possible
    – Parents who set and are there to enforce strong value based rules, and follow through with appropriate punishments consistently when the little darlings wander to far of course. Even when it is not convenient.
    – Parents that attend all conferences, volunteer in the class, get to know the teachers, etc
    – Parents that teach the kids to respect their teachers and classmates. And follow through if they gets reports of any misbehavior in school.
    – Parents that can afford 2 computers with the latest software and high speed internet
    -A parent (ie Dad in this case) that can tutor them in any Math, Physics, etc coursework.
    -A parent (ie Dad in this case) that can work with or fix pretty much any computer, wood working, mechanical, audio visual, etc tool or system. (ie even helping them to put video and sound clips into presentations… It was a learning experience for me…)
    – Parents that promote the importance of learning and academics. (for better or worse.. I do not think they know there is a non-college career path)
    – Parents that encourage their kids to try new things, and then try again if things don’t work out so well.
    – Parents that praise their kids often.
    – Parents that ensure boredom leads to positive hobbies or work. (whether the child likes it or not…)
    – etc, etc, etc

    Now, being a kid in a poor family is unlucky since they often do not have the above advantages. Even the best poor families do not have the free time or funds to provide their kids with many of these. And often the poor families are poor because they do not have certain knowledge or skills. Your denying the reality of their challenge is interesting to say the least.

    By the way, there are some poor families that chose that lifestyle. They choose to live very modestly so that the kids will have a parent at home. That full time parent can do wonders to help the kids not be a statistic.

    The graphs on G2A show the unfortunate reality of the poverty related academic proficiency gap that is so pervasive in our society. Denying it is not the answer.

  2. 281 Exposed Says:

    Hmm…let’s see here is the definition of poverty. Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them.

    How many kids in our district actually lack all of these things? They don;t lack nutrition since we pay for their lunches. How many are homeless? How many wear no clothes? They lack basic human needs not 2 computer in their houses. Not having clothes, food, or shelter is poverty, not falling below some government statistic.

    Personally as the child of blue collar family I deeply RESENT the idea that my parents occupation dictates how much I can learn. I was NOT UNLUCKY. It was NOT insurmountable for me to learn.

    “Parents that both speak English fluently and have read to them daily since they were infants.”

    Well the district estimates that about 10% of our students are ELL or ELP so for 90% of our parents that shouldn’t be much of an issue should it?

    “A parent (ie Mom) who held them accountable daily for reading, studying, doing homework.”

    Why does it take money to do this? A parent who is a sanitation worker, or bus driver, or a painter, isn’t capable of making sure their kids do their homework or show up to conferences two or three times a year?

    “Parents who set and are there to enforce strong value based rules, and follow through with appropriate punishments consistently when the little darlings wander to far of course. Even when it is not convenient.”

    My parents did this with and my siblings. It didn’t take a million dollars for my parents to set rules or enforce punishment.

    “Parents that can afford 2 computers with the latest software and high speed internet”

    Personally I think kids should spend less time on the stupid computer. What happened to chalk and a chalkboard? A netbook costs about $200 right now so “the rich” aren’t the only ones who can purchase one. Perhaps instead of buying kids a cell phone or a Nintendo Wii, they could buy a netbook.

    We are not DENYING that certain circumstances effect learning as you are trying to claim, but we don’t hear any solutions. How do make every possible thing 100% equal? That’s a joke. I think all kids can learn and are capable of learning but an education is EARNED not GIVEN. Some kids have to work harder than others that is a fact! Let’s DEMAND excellence for the gazilions of dollars we are spending not rationalize failure and give poor kids the message that their parent’s job is a reason they can’t achieve.

  3. 281 Exposed Says:

    Well maybe I went a bit over the top with that comment, the frustration over my money being spent, and spent, and spent with little or no improvement just frustrates me to no end…..

  4. give2attain Says:

    Sorry, I did not reply back sooner. I was out town for the weekend “unplugging” at the lake.

    I agree whole heartedly with you… Being fiscally poor is not an excuse for being a poor parent. Unfortunately, often they seem to come together. Maybe they have some common causes?

    I disagree with your definition of poverty though. It seems to me that it is a relative term. Yours is probably good for a third world country. The free and reduced lunch barometer works for me in the USA. Though people on the fringe can probably have a pretty good life if they live pretty frugally.

    I have friends all across the economic spectrum. And it is definitely easier and you have a great deal more freedom if you have a better income. My friends in the lower income brackets have to work very hard, they have less free time available and they are always on the edge of a financial disaster… (ie furnaces or car dies, kids or themselves get sick, unemployment, etc) Whereas those with a big savings account coast through these bumps without even noticing.

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