Students at Tri-City United Schools are reading above average overall, according to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) results, but math scores aren’t quite up to par.

District wide, 58% of TCU students met or exceeded proficiency in reading. That’s equivalent to the state average. Breaking the data down by building, three TCU schools scored above the state average. At TCU Lonsdale, TCU Montgomery and TCU High School, 63% of students at each building met or exceeded reading proficiency.

TCU Superintendent Teri Preisler said scores have improved since 2014, when the district revised its reading curriculum.

“One real positive that showed is that special education, free- and reduced-lunch students, and English Learners each improved in reading, particularly in the English Learner area,” said Preisler. “I know we’ve really done deep work there, and all over the state, in that area.”

Preisler said both white students and Latino students, which make up the largest groups measured in the TCU district, improved their reading scores as well.

While reading trended in a positive direction, Preisler said grades five on up need work in the math department. Apart from TCU Lonsdale, where 73% of students met or exceeded math proficiency, students in each of the district’s buildings fell below the state average of 54%. It’s the third- and fourth-graders, said Preisler, who bring their schools’ average up. At TCU Lonsdale, around 80% of fourth-graders met or exceeded proficiency in math.

While Preisler said the district had hoped for higher scores in math, she said staff across the district is prepared to “do a deep analysis” and implement a new math curriculum this year. The module involves examining the state benchmarks and standards, and figuring out the best resources to use in the classroom to help students learn the material.

Preisler said the district also wants to pinpoint whether or not the juniors, the only grade at TCU High School that takes the math portion of the MCA test, make less of an effort on the MCA as they prepare to take the ACT. While Preisler doesn’t consider it an excuse for the lower MCA math scores, she recognizes that juniors would likely place more value on a test with higher stakes.

At all buildings, Preisler commends staff for being conscientious about working with students as a whole group but also as individuals. In particular, the district’s collaborative learning team found ways to improve common assessments to help students arrive at higher thinking and learning.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

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