Muscatine Community School District Sees Improvement on FAST Scores; Continues to Work for Greater Gains

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

Associate Superintendent Mike McGrory released data from the 2018-2019 school year showing that Muscatine Community School District (MCSD) kindergarten through fifth grade spring FAST (a reading test given twice a year) scores improved by 4.8% from the previous year. In 2017-2018, 67.5% of students met the test’s benchmark, whereas in 2018-2019 72.3% of students met benchmark.

This represents significant gains, especially compared to state averages. Statewide, only 65.9% of students met benchmark, 6.4% lower than MCSD’s students.

McGrory expressed pride in the care and effort MCSD teachers put in to help students reach this point. “Our teachers do an incredible job teaching Muskie students the ability to decode,” he stated.

McGrory emphasized the importance of celebrating student gains but did not minimize the fact that 27.7% of students did not meet benchmark. He acknowledged that for students in poverty, developing the skills needed to read fluently presents a challenge. Comprehension issues arise when vocabulary and life experiences are in deficit,” he elaborated.

To help these students succeed, McGrory shared that MCSD took several steps. In the four elementary schools with the highest free and reduced lunch rate, all students may eat breakfast and lunch for free, helping them stay full and focused in class. Additionally, MCSD provided students with more of the supplies they need, making sure they have the tools to learn effectively. Along with other interventions, MCSD hopes that helping these students will help them do better in school, as reflected in next year’s FAST measures.

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