All three schools earn MCA honors

Posted on: Sep 25, 2018

When 2018 MCA testing data was recently released, each of Delano’s three schools earned honors under the Minnesota’s new North Star accountability system.

Those honors mean that the schools performed among the top 5 percent in the state in various areas of measurement. The elementary excelled in math progress, the middle school in multiple categories of reading progress, and the high school in multiple categories of four-year graduation rate.

The picture wasn’t entirely positive in Delano or statewide, however, as overall proficiency levels were generally lower than in 2017. Delano posted record highs in its own reading and science proficiency last year, so while overall local proficiency dropped somewhat in 2018 the district still far exceeded the state averages in math, reading and science. Students considered proficient are those who meet or exceed expectations for their grade level.

“2018 was a very good year of MCA testing for Delano Public Schools,” said Joe Vieau, director of teaching and learning for the district. “It was not necessarily unexpected to see a bit of a decline from 2017, which was an amazing year for us. We will be examining these results and deciding how to best incorporate this information into our continuous improvement model.”

At the district level, Delano had a proficiency rate of 79.5 percent in math in 2018, a drop from 82.2 percent in 2017. However, the state proficiency rate was just 57 percent this year.

Delano’s overall reading proficiency was 76.8 percent, slightly less than last year’s record-high 78.4 percent, but still well ahead of the state’s 60.3 proficiency rate.

In science, Delano’s 66.5-percent proficiency rate was well above the state’s 52.2 percent rate, though it was 1.5-percent drop from the previous year’s high-water mark.

More information on Delano’s individual school results, school awards and the North Star system is included below.

Elementary school

In math, third- and fourth-graders at Delano Elementary were 83.4 percent proficient compared to 65.6 percent statewide. That proficiency ranking qualified DES for an award, Excellence in Math Progress overall. Progress refers to individual student improvement in achievement level or in maintaining a certain level of proficiency.

In reading, 75.7 percent of Delano Elementary students in those grades were proficient compared to 55.6 percent statewide.

Middle school

At the middle school Delano students in grades five through eight posted an 82.2-percent proficiency rate in math compared to 54.9 percent statewide.

Local middle school students particularly distinguished themselves among their peers statewide in reading, where the middle school earned an Excellence in Reading Progress award in three categories: overall, among multiracial students and among low-income students. Their proficiency rate of 78.7 percent exceeded the state average of 62 percent.

In science, Delano posted a 66.7-percent proficiency rating compared to 51.5 percent statewide.

High school

Delano High School was recognized for Excellence in Four-Year Graduation rate overall and in special education. Its graduation rate was 100 percent in special education and 98 percent overall.

In math, Delano students in 11th grade posted a proficiency rate of 61.8 percent compared to 47.1 percent statewide.

Reading was the best subject for DHS, where 71.3 percent of sophomores were proficient compared to 59 percent statewide.

In science, Delano’s high schoolers were 66.1 percent proficient compared to 51.7 percent statewide.

New accountability system

The state’s new North Star accountability system is a shift toward evaluating student and school performance in a broader sense. Test results are considered part of the picture rather than the primary indicator of success.

“Testing has always been a part of teaching and learning, but over the last two decades we have wrongly defined student success based solely on standardized tests and our children’s access to rich and engaging learning environments has suffered because of it,” said Brenda Cassellius, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education. “We are putting testing into its proper place by using it as one piece of important information alongside other data that together shine a bright light on a school’s quality or a student’s experience.”

The North Star system is Minnesota’s accountability plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind in late 2015. The system uses graduation rates, consistent attendance, English language proficiency and progress on state tests over time to make evaluations.

Delano’s schools were among 526 statewide who were recognized as top performers in various areas. At the other end of the spectrum, 485 schools were prioritized to receive additional help from the Minnesota Department of Education over the next three years in order to improve performance.

For more information, see