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Improvement is coming for ISD 192

The Farmington School District has taken some criticism in recent weeks for students' performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test.

Some of that criticism was well deserved. While the district's students scored better than the state average in most areas, only 31.4 percent of Farmington High School juniors either met or exceeded standards on the MCA math test. That was well behind the state average, and a disappointing result no matter how the rest of the state scored.

But things appear to be changing. This year's scores were actually an improvement for FHS juniors. And district officials believe changes two years ago to the district's math curriculum should pay dividends down the line. A similar change five years ago to the district's reading curriculum appears to have made a difference in MCA reading scores.

None of which does much to help students who took the test this year, or who will take it in the near future. For them, FHS math teachers gathered last week to look at the way they teach their subjects, and the order in which they teach them. Juniors who took the test this year were in some cases answering questions on subjects they hadn't yet studied.

The district as a whole has become more focused on improvement in recent years. Since taking over as assistant superintendent last year Christine Weymouth has asked each district school to develop its own improvement plan. Until recently that was not a formal process.

Teachers and administrators are learning to get the most out of the information they get from tests and other evaluations.

Improvement is coming. But when you're dealing with so many students and an issue as complex as the way in which kids learn, change can't always come overnight. Or even over summer break.

District 192 residents should demand improvement from their school district. The job of schools is too important to let lackluster results slide. But we see the work that goes into improving the district and we expect better things to come.