Achievement & Assessment

Minnesota Rural Schools Improve Science Performance

By August 7, 2016 No Comments

A regional analysis of the 2016 MCA test results in math, reading and science, released today by MREA, shows an increase in science proficiency across Minnesota’s rural schools.

Rural science achievement improved with 2.4 percent more Greater Minnesota students in grades 5, 8 and demonstrating proficiency. This improvement was twice the metro improvement of 1.2 percent and exceeded the statewide improvement of 1.7 percent.

MREA_MCA_Science_Chart_2016Leading the rural regions were the Upper Minnesota Valley (6E) and East Central (7E) with increases of 5.7 percent and 5.0 percent respectively.

Rural science achievement continues to lag the statewide average but the gap has been significantly reduced from
2.9 percent to 1.8 percent.

This is an example of closing the gap and raising the bar between rural and metro science achievement. By staying focused on science curriculum alignment and instruction, rural schools and teachers can continue to close this gap and outpace statewide growth.

Reading and Math Achievement

Overall, reading and math achievement regional achievement mirrors the statewide pattern with very slow growth. Two regions that outpaced the state and all other regions in student growth were East Central (7E) with a 4 percent growth in reading proficiency and the Arrowhead (3) with a 3 percent growth in mathematics.

In both reading and math, five Greater Minnesota regions exceeded or equaled the state average achievement in and seven lag the state average.

MREA_MCA_Math_Chart_2016          MREA_MCA_Reading_Chart_2016_1

Once again the Central Region (7W) — the counties of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright —led the state in reading (64%), math (66%), and science (61%) proficiency. The region is 88 percent white and 3 of the 4 counties have less than 12 percent of their children in poverty. The districts in this region are adding value to lead the state in student achievement in all three subjects, but face fewer of the conditions underlying achievement gaps in Minnesota.

Improving Results

MREA’s regional analysis of MCA results provides a benchmarking unit of analysis for teacher and district leaders to improve their curriculum, instruction and student learning, and to identify regional trends requiring collaborative efforts for improvement. Benchmarking and tracking achievement gains in one’s district as compared to selected districts is a proven strategy to generate achievement gains in a school district.

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For more information on the 2016 MCA Test results:

*The MDE Fact Sheet states the math MCA proficiency rate is 61 percent. The ‘partially meets’ category has an index which factors into the proficiency standards but is beyond MREA to calculate accurately. To accurately benchmark a district in math, use only the meets and exceeds proficiency count in your district. There is no difference in proficiency rates for reading or science.