Robbinsdale Science Scores Drop

From the Golden Valley Patch;

Almost two-thirds of the Robbinsdale Public Schools students tested in science in March failed to meet state standards, according to data the Minnesota Department of Education released Friday. While state scores mainly remained flat from last year, most Robbinsdale schools saw a decrease in the number of proficient students over last year. The percentage of fifth-graders who were not proficient increased by more than 6 points over last year, from 62.1 percent to 68.5.

Only two elementary schools beat the state average of 54 percent not proficient: the Spanish Immersion School with 46.5 percent and Zachary with 45.9 percent. The Spanish Immersion also improved over last year’s percentage, from 47.3 not proficient. Meadow Lake Elementary improved its proficiency percentage by more than 3 percent over last year, to 75.3 percent. That was the biggest improvement any Robbinsdale school made over last year.

It “may not be statistically significant, but is definitely significant in the minds of students and staff,” said Tia Clasen, district spokeswoman, about Meadow Lake. She released a statement from the district Friday.

“Our school truly intensified its focus on the whole child,” said Meadow Lake Principal Kim Hiel. “For instance, each child in the entire school keeps a science journal, engages in inquiry throughout the day in all different subject areas, and practices thoughtful, reflective thinking. For our kids, it’s not just about ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ We focus on process.”

The elementary school with the fewest number of proficient students was Northport in Brooklyn Center, with 9.2 percent.  The percentage of students who were not proficient in science in Golden Valley’s Noble Elementary was 76.1 percent, a significant drop from last year’s 65.4 percent.

Both of Robbinsdale’s middle schools did worse than the state average of 55.6 percent, but one improved over last year. About 62.8 percent of Plymouth Middle School students were not proficient this year, which is an 8 percent improvement over last year’s 70.8 percent.

The percentage of Robbinsdale Middle School students who did not pass the science test increased from 61.9 percent last year to 70.5 this year. Armstrong beat the state average of 46.2 percent, with 44.8 percent not proficient this year. Cooper’s scores, however, were significantly worse than the state average, at 63.9 percent not proficient.

Cooper improved, however, by about 3 percentage points over last year, while Armstrong dropped by more than a percentage point. “We are carefully examining our students’ growth as they move through our schools,” said Superintendent Aldo Sicoli in the news release. “We will not accept this drop overall in our schools. It is unacceptable and disheartening, but it will not derail the recent work we have accomplished and will continue to implement this coming year.”

Sicoli said the district has a lot of work to do. “Are we there yet? No, we are not,” he said. “However, we have, and will continue to have, the steadfast persistence in working with students so they will attain high intellectual performance. Our students have many strengths and talents. It is up to us to tap into those talents in order to foster learning and achieve academic success.”

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