2014 MCA Scores are In

MCA Scores are In
Tuesday Sep 9, 14
Grade 5 Ranks in the Top 25% in Reading and Math

The Minnesota Department of Education recently released results from the 2014 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA-III).  When compared to 2013, scores across the state are slightly higher in all subjects (mathematics, reading and science).  BHM students continued to score above state averages at most grades and subjects.

2014 MCA Test Results

Math Results
The MCA-III math test is administered to all students in grades 3-8 and 11.  The percentage of students scoring in the "proficient" (grade-level) level increased statewide from 61.2% in 2013 to 61.4% in 2014.  While the BHM proficiency rate declined slightly (from 67.8% in 2013 to 67.1% in 2014), the district continued to outperform the state at all grades except grade 11.

BHM proficiency rates in 2014 increased at three of seven grades.  Proficiency rates were up the most at grade 3 where they increased from 72.9% in 2013 to 83.1% in 2014.  These students also had the highest overall proficiency levels in the district

When compared to the rest of Minnesota, BHM generally scored well above state averages.  Five of seven grade levels exceeded the state average each having proficiency levels more than 6% above the state. Scores for students at grade 3 were 11.3% higher than the Minnesota average.  BHM students at grades 3 and 5 ranked in the top 25% of Minnesota districts.

At grade 11, the MCA-III math test was administered for the first time (MCA-III standards have been assessed at grades 3-8 since 2011).  MCA-III standards are more rigorous and carry higher expectations of students.  As a result, proficiency rates were lower across the board with 50.6% of Minnesota students scoring in the "meets" or "exceeds" category.  BHM grade 11, proficiency was slightly lower than the state with 50.2% scoring in the proficient range.  Overall, proficiency rates continue to be lowest at grade 11.  Staff has speculated this occurs because students have the perception that the test does not "count" since passing is no longer a requirement for graduation.

Reading Results
Reading scores increased slightly across the state with 59.1% of Minnesota students scoring in the proficient range compared to 57.8% in 2013.  BHM students scored above the state average with 62.9% of students identified as proficient in reading.  BHM proficiency rates in reading are above state averages at all grades with the exception of grade 8. 

District grade 5 students had the highest proficiency rates with 75.6% of students scoring in the "meets" or "exceeds" range.  Grade 5 students exceeded the state average by the greatest margin (8% higher), which places their achievement in the top 25% of Minnesota districts. Students at grades 5 and 10 had the greatest number "exceeding" standards with 24.7% of students in this category. 

Science Results
The MCA-III science assessment is administered to all students at grades 5 and 8 and to high school students who take biology during the year.  While science scores statewide increased slightly, BHM students saw a larger jump. 53.2% of Minnesota students scored in the proficient range in 2014, compared to 52.1% in 2013.  Proficiency among BHM students increased from 60.9% in 2013 to 63.4% in 2014. 

Overall, proficiency rates in the district were 10.1% higher than the state average.  Both grades 5 and 8 had proficiency rates nearly 17% higher than the state.  Science achievement at grade 8 places it in the top 7% of Minnesota districts, and in top 13% at Grade 5.

Proficiency in the district was highest in the district at grade 5 where 78.1% of students scored in the proficient range.  Proficiency at grade 5 increased the most with rates moving from 71.0% in 2013 to 78.1% in 2014.   

Future Plans
BHM continues to monitor the curriculum resources and instructional practices for mathematics, reading and science through the district's continuous improvement process. Adjustments are still in progress for alignment of curriculum to rigorous standards.

There continues to be a persistent disparity in achievement between students of color, disabled students, students in poverty and their white counterparts.  BHM is committed to reducing this achievement gap as a part of each school's site improvement plans. All BHM schools are developing site plans where staff identify instructional strategies to raise proficiency, increase growth and reduce the achievement gap of its students.   

While the MCAs are an important measuring stick, they don't carry the weight they once did.  Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, math and reading proficiency measured by the MCAs determined which schools were identified as "failures."  Minnesota was granted a NCLB waiver in 2012 and rolled out a new accountability system for schools last year.  Known as the Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR), these scores will show how individual schools are doing in growth toward proficiency and progress in closing achievement gaps.  Results for 2013-14 will be released in October.

While MCA scores are a valuable piece of data that our district uses, student progress cannot be gauged exclusively by these scores.  BHM uses other standardized assessments and classroom assessments to identify student strengths and weaknesses.  The Performance Series tests that were implemented last year will again be used in 2014-15.  Scores from these varied assessments are used in planning changes in curriculum and instruction.