State’s Test Scores Fall Dramatically

Posted at: 08/27/2013 11:12 PM
By: John Doetkott

The Minnesota Department of Education recently announced the results of this year's MCA test, a standardized test given annually to the state's third through eighth graders, and for educators, the results were more than disappointing.

Statewide, scores fell in both reading and math, with only a slight increase in science.

And locally things were even worse.

Austin fell below the state average in every category, with less than half its students proficient in reading and less than 40 percent proficient in science.

Albert Lea fared slightly better but still scored below the state average in each category.

And only Rochester's reading scores could beat the state while they fell below the average on the other two tests.

This year's reading test was changed to make it more difficult, which could account for part of the decline, but regardless, experts say it's important not to put too much stock in the scores.

“It’s not necessarily regression in what kids are learning, it's a regression in the scores on these tests,” said David Krenz, superintendent of Austin Public Schools. “A one-time test that seems to change every two to three years is really just a pinpoint in time."

Local educators and lawmakers alike echoed those sentiments, saying graduation rates and post-graduate achievement can be better measures of a school's success.

“I think we need to take a good look at, in terms of standardized testing, what is that environment like? What do those lead to?” said Republican State Representative Mike Benson of Rochester. “Maybe take a hard look at the whole picture before determining that there's a failing district simply on standardized tests."

To see how your school or district performed, click the following link: http://w20.education.state.mn.us/MDEAnalytics/Reports.jsp