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Local students do well on required math, reading tests

Even though school is out for the summer, students are receiving high marks. Recently, the state released test scores for students who took the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments-Series II (MCA-II). The tests were administered in the spring of t...

Even though school is out for the summer, students are receiving high marks.

Recently, the state released test scores for students who took the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments-Series II (MCA-II). The tests were administered in the spring of this year to students statewide in grades 3-8 (reading and math), 10 (reading) and 11 (math).

According to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), math and reading MCA-II test scores increased or stayed relatively the same for most grades statewide.

The biggest increase, however, was for 11th graders who took the math test. There was nearly an 8 percent increase.

Stated education leaders noted that the increase could be attributed to the new, more rigorous graduation requirements, which provided an additional incentive for students to perform well.

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Additional increases - about 3 percent - were seen in the 4th grade math results, as well as the 6th and 10th grade reading scores. Fourth grade reading also increased by about 2 percent, according to MDE.

In Alexandria School District 206, there were approximately 2,300 students who took both the MCA-II reading and math tests. According to administrators, results for individual students will be mailed to parents before school starts this fall.

Results for District 206 show that students scored favorably overall in comparison to state benchmarks at all grade levels, noted Julie Critz, director of teaching and learning.

In comparing the 2007-2008 test scores to the 2008-2009 scores, the biggest increase for Alexandria students was in 6th grade math, which improved nearly 16 percent.

Critz also noted that there was also a small increase in the 5th grade test results.

"Once again, we are extremely pleased with the test scores, which speak to the dedication and hard work of both our students and staff," said Critz. "We recognize that continuous improvement is expected by all and we will study the test data closely over the summer to help guide our improvement goal-setting process for the coming year."

Critz added that Alexandria students scored highest in comparison to other "Target 10," which are regional center schools with comparable demographics, across several grade and subject areas, including 5th grade math, 6th grade math and reading, 8th grade math and reading and 11th grade math.

On the 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.

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Students who meet the standards or exceed the standards are considered proficient in that subject area. MCA-II scores are used to determine whether individual schools and school districts are making adequate yearly progress (AYP) under requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. AYP information will be released in August.

The results

Here is how school districts in Douglas County and surrounding areas scored on the MCA-II tests. The numbers represent the percentage of students who either met the standard or exceeded the standard:

Alexandria

school district

3rd grade: math - 82.2 percent, reading - 80.6 percent

4th grade: math - 78.1 percent, reading - 79.3 percent

5th grade: math - 71.0 percent, reading - 71.6 percent

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6th grade: math - 79.3 percent, reading - 80.0 percent

7th grade: math - 69.8 percent, reading - 67.6 percent

8th grade: math - 71.8 percent, reading - 75.1 percent

10th grade: reading - 81.4 percent

11th grade: math - 57.1 percent

Brandon school district

3rd grade: math - 95.3 percent, reading - 100 percent

4th grade: math - 77.8 percent, reading - 94.4 percent

5th grade: math - 79.0 percent, reading - 78.9 percent

6th grade: math - 95.8 percent, reading - 95.9 percent

7th grade: math - 88.2 percent, reading - 58.8 percent

8th grade: math - 58.3 percent, reading - 75.0 percent

10th grade: reading - 94.1 percent

11th grade: math - 70.0 percent

Evansville

school district

3rd grade: math - 90.0 percent, reading - 90.0 percent

4th grade: math - 100.0 percent, reading - 100.0 percent

5th grade: math - 93.8 percent, reading - 87.5 percent

6th grade: math - 84.7 percent, reading - 69.3 percent

8th grade: math - 50 percent, reading - 61.1 percent

10th grade: reading - 84.7 percent

11th grade: math - 7.1 percent

Minnewaska

school district

3rd grade: math - 93.6 percent, reading - 93.5 percent

4th grade: math - 87.5 percent, reading - 91.6 percent

5th grade: math - 64.5 percent, reading - 76.3 percent

6th grade: math - 73.1 percent, reading - 76.9 percent

7th grade: math - 66.6 percent, reading - 71.6 percent

8th grade: math - 67.6 percent, reading - 83.3 percent

10th grade: reading - 80.8 percent

11th grade: math - 36.0 percent

Osakis school district

3rd grade: math - 84.9 percent, reading - 86.8 percent

4th grade: math - 81.5 percent, reading - 77.7 percent

5th grade: math - 70.5 percent, reading - 70.4 percent

6th grade: math - 80.8 percent, reading - 75.0 percent

7th grade: math - 75.0 percent, reading - 80.2 percent

8th grade: math - 73.3 percent, reading - 68.3 percent

10th grade: reading - 81.5 percent

11th grade: math - 63.8 percent

Parkers Prairie

school district

3rd grade: math - 84.2 percent, reading - 78.9 percent

4th grade: math - 71.4 percent, reading - 59.5 percent

5th grade: math - 70.0 percent, reading - 75.0 percent

6th grade: math - 59.4 percent, reading - 56.2 percent

7th grade: math - 65.8 percent, reading - 60.9 percent

8th grade: math - 61.7 percent, reading - 51.1 percent

10th grade: reading - 57.7 percent

11th grade: math - 14 percent

Statewide

3rd grade: math - 82.1 percent, reading - 78.4 percent

4th grade: math - 74.8 percent, reading - 74.5 percent

5th grade: math - 65.5 percent, reading - 72.2 percent

6th grade: math - 63.7 percent, reading - 72.6 percent

7th grade: math - 62.6 percent, reading - 64.8 percent

8th grade: math - 59.6 percent, reading - 66.8 percent

10th grade: reading - 74.2 percent

11th grade: math - 41.6 percent

WHAT ARE THE TESTS?

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, Series II (MCA-II) are the state assessments in reading, mathematics and science that meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

These assessments are given every year to measure student performance on the Minnesota Academic Standards, which define what students should know and be able to do in a particular grade.

The reading and mathematics MCA-IIs were first administered in 2005-2006 and the science MCA-II was first given in 2007-2008.

The math test is taken by students in grades 3-8 and 11. The reading test is taken by students in 3-8 and 10. The science test is taken by students in grades 5 and 8 and in high school.

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