Scientific achievement: Local students do well on state MCA science testStudents will soon be hitting the books once again. They’ll be back in the classroom learning about reading, writing and arithmetic.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Students will soon be hitting the books once again. They’ll be back in the classroom learning about reading, writing and arithmetic.
They’ll also learn about science, which will help when they take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments-Series II (MCA-II) science test next spring.
The results from last year’s science test were released from the Minnesota Department of Eduction (MDE) last week and students in Alexandria School District 206 fared well – they scored higher than their peers statewide.
In Alexandria School District 206, 828 students in grades 5, 8 and 10 took the MCA-II science test last spring.
The science standards, according to MDE, define what students should know and be able to do in a particular grade and are developed in partnership with Minnesota educators.
In District 206, 53 percent of 5th graders showed proficiency in the science MCA-II tests, as did 56 percent of 8th graders and 58 percent of 10th graders.
Statewide, the scores came in at 46 percent for 5th graders, 48 percent for 8th graders and 52 percent for 10th graders.
In addition, Alexandria’s proficiency scores ranked first in grade 10, and third in grades 5 and 8 among the “target 10” schools – regional center schools with comparable demographics, according to Julie Critz, School District 206 director of teaching and learning.
“We are very pleased that our students tested above the state averages,” said Critz. “We showed steady improvement over last year’s results in grades 5 and 10, but did particularly well in grade 8, improving five percentage points.”
This was the third 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.
The science test results do not currently count toward student graduation requirements or the federal No Child Left Behind law.
District 206 completed a review of its science curriculum last school year to align with 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 – 53.4 percent. Total tested: 279.
8th grade – 55.8 percent. Total tested: 287.
10th grade – 58 percent. Total tested: 262.
Brandon school district
5th grade – 56.3 percent. Total tested: 16.
8th grade – 53 percent. Total tested: 17.
10th grade – 23.8 percent. Total tested: 21.
5th grade – 30 percent. Total tested: 10.
10th grade – 40 percent. Total tested: 15.
5th grade – 46.2 percent. Total tested: 67.
8th grade – 47.5 percent. Total tested: 80.
10th grade – 52.6 percent. Total tested: 76.
Osakis school district
5th grade – 78.5 percent. Total tested: 65.
8th grade – 62.1 percent. Total tested: 74.
10th grade – 64.8 percent. Total tested: 71.
5th grade – 41.5 percent. Total tested: 41.
8th grade – 35 percent. Total tested: 40.
10th grade – 55.9 percent. Total tested: 34.
5th grade – 46 percent.
8th grade – 47.9 percent.
10th grade – 51.8 percent.