Getting it down to a science: Students perform above average in state science testsWith school just a little over a month away, students will be putting their noses back to the grindstone.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
With school just a little over a month away, students will be putting their noses back to the grindstone.
They’ve been there before – scoring well on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments-Series II (MCA-II) Science Tests last spring.
In Alexandria School District 206, 887 students in 5th, 8th and 10th grades took the test. Statewide, about 181,600 students were tested.
The science standards, according to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), define what students should know and be able to do in a particular grade and are developed in partnership with Minnesota educators.
MDE released the results from those tests earlier this week. The results indicated that students in the Alexandria School District scored higher than their peers statewide when it comes to being proficient in science.
Overall, 51 percent of 5th graders in District 206 showed proficiency, as did 51 percent of 8th graders. For 10th graders, 57 percent showed proficiency in the subject of science. Alexandria students in all three grade levels scored higher than the state average.
Additionally, School District 206 administrators noted that students in the Alexandria district ranked in the top two among the “Target 10 Schools” – regional center schools with comparable demographics – across all three grade levels.
“We are very pleased that our students tested above the state averages,” said Julie Critz, director of teaching and learning. “We showed strong improvement over last year’s results at both 5th and 8th grade, while holding steady at 10th grade.”
This was the second year the test has been given in the state. The computer-based assessment is designed to be interactive and allows students to simulate experiments and provide responses online.
Just like the math and reading MCA-II tests, students earn a score that falls into one of four achievement levels – does not meet the standards; partially meets the standards; meets the standards; and exceeds the standards.
Students who meet the standards or exceed the standards are considered proficient in that subject area.
Currently, however, the science test results do not count toward student graduation requirements or the federal No Child Left Behind law, according to the MDE. In addition, the results do not impact Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
The state recently revised its science standards that were initially approved by the Legislature in 2004. With the state revision process completed, said Critz, District 206 will review its science curriculum in the 2009-2010 school year to align it with the new state standards.
Here is how school districts in Douglas County and surrounding areas scored on the MCA-II science tests. The numbers represent the percentage of students who either met the standard or exceeded the standard:
5th grade – Carlos Elementary, 42.1 percent; Garfield Elementary, 61.2 percent; Lincoln Elementary, 58 percent; Miltona Elementary, 53.9 percent; Washington Elementary, 37.9 percent; and Voyager Elementary, 54.8 percent.
8th – 50.8 percent
10th – 57.4 percent
5th – 52.7 percent
8th – 41.6 percent
10th – 53 percent
5th – 68.8 percent
8th – 27.8 percent
10th – 30.8 percent
5th – 45.7 percent
8th – 44.9 percent
10th – 53.1 percent
5th – 52.4 percent
8th – 58.3 percent
10th – 54.6 percent
5th – 50 percent
8th – 42.6 percent
10th – 67.9 percent
5th – 45 percent
8th – 42.6 percent
10th – 49.5 percent