Local News: MPS students outscore state test averages (11/29/22)

Central Elementary and other local students are more than keeping up with their peers across the state.

courtesy photo

McCOOK, Neb. — The McCook Public School District outperformed its peers and the state in almost every category in the 2021-22 assessment results released Nov. 23 by the Nebraska Department of Education.

The Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) data included district scores as well as scores from MPS schools.

The only areas where results were lower or associated with peer schools or the state were graduation rate and college going rate at McCook Senior High. The graduation rate at MHS is 87%, 92% for peers and the national average is 87%. For college going rates, MHS scored 72%, peers 74% and the state 73%.

On all other scores, McCook Public School students outperformed their peers and states, in some cases by nearly 20 percentage points.

McCook Schools superintendent Grant Norgaard said staff keep track of the number of credits it takes for each student to graduate and “can see it coming” if a student is lagging behind. Teachers then work with students to earn the required credits, but the reality is some students don’t get all the credits on time and miss graduation, he said. In some cases, students are able to graduate the following year, but for some students, credits are never made up. Bottom line: “You have to do the work” to get your degree, Norgaard said.

College going rates could be affected by the way students are tracked, he said. The state is only allowed to prosecute students who attend college in Nebraska and not at out-of-state colleges like Fort Hays in Kansas. College-going results also do not reflect students going into the military, many of whom use the military as an opportunity to pursue higher education.

Overall, Norgaard said he was pleased with the results considering the setbacks caused by the pandemic such as online learning/student isolation. Norgaard said that nationally, student scores gradually increased every year until after the pandemic. At that point, national student scores fell 30 years behind those recorded in the 1990s, he said.

While the pandemic still impacted McCook Public Schools, it wasn’t as extreme as national trends, he said. In comparison: “We are satisfied where we are, but of course there is still a lot to do.”

2021-22 District Snapshot compared to peer schools and state:

Rating: Great. Schools are rated as excellent, great, good, or in need of improvement and are designated as priority schools. All schools in the MPS district were also rated Great.

Student membership, 1,387 (peers: 1,385, state, 327,055)

Teachers, 95 (peers, 97, state, 23,962)

English learners, 3% (peer, 3%, state, 8%)

Free/discount lunch, 33% (peers, 33%, state, 41%)

Gifted, 7% (peers, 10%, state, 13%)

Special education, 15% (peers, 17%, state, 16%)

Attendance rate, 94% (peers, 93%, State, 92%) Dropout rate, 3% (peers, 3%, State, 2%)

English/Language Arts: 58% (Peers, 49%, State, 47%)

Mathematics: 62% (peer, 52%, state, 46%)

Academia: 83% (peer, 73%, state, 66%)

ACT: English/languages: 65% (peers and state, 46%) mathematics, 54% (peers, 47%, state, 44%); Academia: 63% (peers, 50%, state, 48%)

Graduation rate: 87% (peers 92%, state 87%)

College-going rate: 72% (peers, 74%, state, 73%

By school: Nebraska students in grades 5, 8, and the third-year high school cohort are tested in science, and grades 3-8 and third-year high school cohort are tested in math. and grades 3-8 and the third-year high school cohort are tested on English Language Arts. In high school, only ACT scores are compiled.

McCook Elementary 2021-22: Kindergarten through third grade, 411 students, 28 teachers; Free/discounted lunch, 35%; English learners, 3%; Gifted, 2%.

English/Language Arts: 59% proficient (63% in 2018-19), peers, 58%, state, 47%

mathematics, 58% proficient (52% in 2018-19); Peers, 56%, State, 46%.

Central Elementary 2021-22: fourth and fifth grade, 199 students, 15 teachers; Free/discounted lunch, 33%; Gifted, 6%; English learner, less than 10 students.

English/Language Arts: 59% proficient (61% in 2018-19); Peers, 52%, State, 47%

Mathematics, 65% competent (68% in 2018-19); Peers, 55%, State, 46%)

Science, 84% competent (80% in 2018-19); peers, 73%, state, 66%

McCook Junior High 2021-22: sixth through eighth grades, 324 students, 21 teachers; Free/discounted lunch, 39%; English learners, 4%; Gifted, 10%.

English/Language Arts: 57% proficient (59% in 2018-19), peers and state, 47%

Math: 61% competent (60% in 218-19), peers 50%, state 46%

Science: 80% competent (77% in 2018-19) peers, 69%, state, 66%.

McCook Senior High: 9th through 12th grades, 453 students, 31 teachers; Free/discounted lunch, 27%; Gifted, 11%; English learner, less than 10 students.

NSCAS ACT (11th grade)

Percentage of meeting expectations:

English/Language Arts: 65% proficient (63% in 2018-19); Peers, 43%, State, 46%.

Mathematics: 54% (52% in 2018-19); peers, 44%, state, 54%.

Science: 63% (60% in 2018-19); Peers, 47%, State, 48%.

Graduation rate: 87% (peers 90%, state 87%)

College going rate: 72% (peers, 74%, state, 73%)