Spring is test time in the school district

Springtime is test time in the state of Minnesota. Beginning this week, students in the Princeton schools will begin testing in the areas of mathematics, reading, science and writing.

The purpose of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, commonly referred to as the MCAs, is twofold. First, test results help teachers identify individual student progress, strengths and areas in need of improvement. This information is critical to teachers as they prepare, plan and work to help each individual student reach their full potential. Secondly, MCA results looked at as a whole help our school district measure the effectiveness of our curriculum, programs and teaching strategies.

In addition, we are able to compare Princeton exam scores to other students and schools across Minnesota to measure our progress and success.

At the beginning of the 2009/2010 school year, Princeton students scored below state averages in each of the testing areas mentioned above. In some cases Princeton students scored ten percentage points below their peers across the state. Beginning with the fall of 2010, administrators and teachers began a comprehensive, district-wide initiative to align curriculum to state standards while working hard to improve teacher effectiveness.

As we close out the end of the 2011/ 2012 school year, I am pleased to tell you we have made great strides towards our goal of being above state average in all areas and at all grade levels. Test results from one year ago showed Princeton students above state averages in reading, science and writing. In fact, our scores in science were over ten percentage points higher than the state average. In addition, we have made double digit increases in mathematics and significantly closed the gap between Princeton students and their peers across the state. I am very thankful to the many teachers and administrators who have worked extremely hard to make our goal become a reality

While we are proud of our progress, there is more work to be done. Without our constant efforts to improve, we will surely stagnate while others around us get better. It is with this in mind that all district employees are challenged to improve each year. High-level staff development, clear district goals and a mission to help every student succeed will help us reach that goal.

Improving test scores takes a community-wide effort. Support for local operating levies coupled with involved parents has helped us move our school district forward. Those who have children in our schools have received advice from building principals on how to help your child succeed in school. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the many parents and community members who have worked hard and sacrificed to help us improve. By working together we can continue to help our public school system achieve results that make all of us proud.