Duluth School Board addresses decline in student test scores

Duluth School Board addresses decline in student test scores.
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 10:08 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- The Duluth School Board is looking into improvements after a new report shows a decline in student test scores.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, data gathered from standardized tests in 2022, showed Duluth students’ scores decreased by 9% in math, 7% in reading and 6% in science. Those numbers are compared to pre-pandemic testing scores.

“While we have schools that have students that are doing well, we know as a district we have students who are not,” said Anthony Bonds, the Duluth Assistant Superintendent.

During the Duluth School Board’s monthly Committee of a Whole meeting Thursday, they addressed those concerning numbers. The board also pointing to specific communities of students who are struggling the most.

“Our free and reduced lunch students, our students who are special education, our students from underserved populations like our African American students, and others,” said Supt. John Magas, with the Duluth School District.

There were also discussions about the difference in scores from students on the west end of Duluth compared to those on the east end.

“I know that our teachers, our students, and our families are working really hard in those areas,” said Magas. “We want to make sure we are all lifting as a whole community.”

To address these issues, the school board is going to use their new strategic plan, which focuses on three key areas:

1. Supporting every student

2. Advancing equity

3. And improving systems

The district will be working with school principals, teachers, and staff to see how they can best implement those three key areas to improve the learning experience for every student.

The board says they will track progress through progress monitoring reports to ensure parents and students can see the positive changes.

“Each month we are going to be coming forward with new reports so the community can learn what are we doing in those three areas,” said Magas.

The school board hopes to to see an increase in test scores at all Duluth schools this new school year.

“And we better deliver on what we are saying we are going to do,” said Magas. “We owe it to our students to do our absolute best.”

The school board says they hope to have their first progress report done by October.

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