Minnesota Department of Education releases 2017 MCA scores

Today, the Minnesota Department of Education released scores for the 2017 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). Overall, scores showed little change from last year. Math scores decreased slightly for some grade levels and remained constant for others, and reading scores remained largely the same.

“Test scores are just one part of the picture to understand how students are doing in Minnesota,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “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. I am proud of our students, and of the teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, support staff and many others working every day to help every student succeed.”

Since 2013, when a new reading test was implemented, scores for all students are up 2 percentage points for all students in grades 3-8 and 10. In math, scores for all students grades 3-8 are also up 2 percentage points from 2011, when a new math test was implemented. Students in grades five, eight and high school that took the science exam have increased scores by 4 percentage points since 2012.

“We need all children succeeding, which requires a real focus on providing an equitable education,” continued Cassellius. “That’s why we are proposing ambitious goals that address achievement gaps in our draft plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that extend beyond just looking at the individual test scores we’re looking at today.”

Minnesota’s plan under ESSA will evaluate all Minnesota schools—not just schools receiving federal funding—in five areas: student achievement on tests, academic progress over time, graduation rates, progress toward English language proficiency, and consistent attendance. As states transition to new accountability systems under ESSA, the department is no longer calculating the Multiple Measurements Ratings that were a part of our state’s No Child Left Behind flexibility waiver. This year’s MCA results will be used along with next year’s when the department makes new school identifications for the 2018-19 school year.

“This reinforces why we must ensure that all children get the opportunity to a great start, so that we can close gaps early and sustain that progress by supporting schools through our Regional Centers of Excellence,” said Cassellius.

This is also the first year Minnesota’s MCA data are reported with the new federally-required ethnicity and race categories, in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. The change allows individuals to self-identify their ethnicity and race using an expanded number of categories from the previous five groups to the new seven. This means that for the first time, the department is able to report on students identifying as more than one race and/or ethnicity. This change is reflected in the 2017 MCA scores data. Results in our Data Center have been recalculated going back to 2014 to allow for comparisons and trends to be analyzed.

MCA data appear on the easy-to-use Minnesota Report Card, which displays the results in customizable charts and graphs. Results are also available in our Data Center as Excel spreadsheets for those who prefer to sort and filter data tables.

View a slide presentation summarizing the 2017 MCA results.
Read and comment on the state’s draft ESSA plan.

 

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