There were no sweeping, across-the-board improvements in Minnesota students’ math and reading scores reflected in this year’s annual Minnesota Com­pre­hensive Assess­ments. But there is evidence to suggest reading scores have improved as a result of the Legislature implementing a high stakes graduation requirement for reading in 2008


There were no sweeping, across-the-board improvements in Minnesota students’ math and reading scores reflected in this year’s annual Minnesota Com­pre­hensive Assess­ments. But there is evidence to suggest reading scores have improved as a result of the Legislature implementing a high stakes graduation requirement for reading in 2008.

At the same time, eliminating the graduation requirement for math in 2009 may have negatively influenced 11th grade math results, which showed only a modest improvement this year.

State students’ math scores improved slightly at most grade levels while reading scores remained mostly unchanged, according to the results of the MCA-IIs. Scores were released July 1 by the Minnesota Depar­tment of Education.

On the MCA-IIs, each student earns a score in one of four achievement levels: Does Not Meet Standards, Partially Meets Standards, Meets the Standards, or Exceeds the Standards. Students who meet or exceed standards on the MCA-II are considered proficient.

The MCA-II tests are used to analyze Adequate Yearly Progress, which is the measure of student performance under the federal No Child Left Behind law. AYP results are scheduled to be released by the MDE in early August.

This spring, approximately 426,000 students took the Math and Reading MCA-IIs. Next year a new test aligned to revised standards in math and reading will be administered.

Montevideo students results reflect the statewide results, showing some improvement but not as much as might be hoped, according to Monica Stueck, district assessment coordinator.

“We were happy with our reading results and have moved into a ‘safe harbor’ status with our improved scores,” Stueck reported in an e-mail.

The percentage of Montevideo students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 that were proficient in reading exceeded state results. Scores in the seventh and eighth grades fell short of statewide numbers.

While reading scores stayed relatively constant statewide for most grades, the 11th grade results continued their upward trend for the second year in a row.

Grade 10 reading scores have improved 10 percentage points since 2006, according to MDE. Most of the gains have come after the Legislature implemented the high stakes graduation requirement for reading starting in 2008.

“One hundred percent of the class of 2009 had passed all three of the MCA tests,” reported Stueck. “We did not have anyone who was a Montevideo High School senior not get a diploma because of the tests.”

Montevideo students did not do as well this spring in math, falling short of state scores in all but the sixth grade, although 11th-graders were just .3 percent below the statewide mark of 43.3 percent.

“Our math scores were not as good, therefore we are still not making AYP in the area of math,” reported Stueck. “We will be looking at our curriculum so see where we need to improve.”

Minnesota students in grades three through eight and grade 11 improved their scores in math this spring, but the grade 11 math results showed only a modest improvement.