The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 2, 2012

Area districts perform below state average on new science test

MANKATO — Well over half of 29 southern Minnesota school districts scored below the state average on the new version of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments science test in all three grade levels tested.

Click here for results for Mankato area schools

That includes Mankato Area Public Schools, which scored just below the state averages among the fifth and eighth grades, with high schools coming in at the state average on the annual test. (The percentage of proficiency for eighth grade was within the margin of error.)

Cindy Amoroso, director of curriculum instruction for Mankato schools, said she can’t definitively point to the new version of the test as the reason for what some may consider to be low statewide scores. She said the new version may be more difficult than the last, or perhaps districts’ curriculums simply aren’t aligned yet to the new state standards, among other reasons.

Amoroso said the Mankato district is using these test results as a baseline for comparisons for future results. Because the test is new this year, she can’t compare the results to any previous years’ trends.

“We do not compare old to new because our accountability is to those new standards,” she said. “All our resources are going into those standards.”

New science curriculum has been implemented in Mankato schools this year. Once students in lower grades have had several years to move through the new curriculum at different grade levels, there will be a “cumulative effect” and the scores will continue to improve, Amoroso said.

“We’re excited in Mankato because of the changes we’ve made,” she said.

Fifth-graders performed the best in most districts. The state average was 57.6 percent proficient, and more than half of fifth-graders in many area districts were deemed proficient. More than 70 percent of Springfield, St. Clair and Waseca fifth-graders were proficient.

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