Little change in state test results in reading, math

Published 8:24 am Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota education officials say there has been little change in statewide test results in reading and math.

Scores for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments had no significant improvements in reading or math this year, the Star Tribune reported . Officials had hoped to cut the achievement gap in half.

“It’s frustrating to see test scores slowly increasing over time, but there’s more to providing a student with a well-rounded education than can be seen in a test,” Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said.

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Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff said almost 10,000 students in the district are struggling to meet success goals and that he was disappointed in the results.

He said the district will begin using tools to track student performance more closely during the school year.

“For too long we have been caught up in MCA scores and haven’t focused enough on what leads up to those results,” he said.

A single test score doesn’t completely measure students’ progress, said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.

“Grades, conferences with teachers and even talks with the children themselves are all equally important sources of information for parents,” Specht said in a statement Monday. “Teachers know finding ways to engage students and inspire in them a love of learning is more important than chasing scores on two tests given in the spring.

The scores come at a time when the state is planning to update how it holds schools accountable following a new federal law. The Every Student Succeeds Act plan will overhaul how public schools are rated and labeled and shift the focus to helping the lowest performing schools.

Education officials said the act will address test scores and the state’s achievement gap.

“We are proposing ambitious goals that address achievement gaps in our draft plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act that extend beyond just looking at the individual test scores we’re looking at today,” Cassellius said.

Schools will be evaluated in five areas: student achievement on tests, academic progress over time, graduation rates, progress toward English language proficiency and consistent attendance.

The new plan will take full effect for the 2018-19 school year.