mca webOsseo Area Schools student performance on state tests continued to hold steady, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests are one of many ways the state and local districts measure student achievement. The MCA results released on July 28 reflect proficiency only and are a “point-in-time” measure of student progress.

Similar to the 2016 statewide results, science scores increased and math scores declined slightly. Osseo’s reading scores remained stable.

“Our proficiency pattern is fairly consistent in that we see small but steady improvement over time, and results tend to match state patterns,” said Don Pascoe, director of research, assessment and accountability.

District administrators attribute those improvements to the focused work by teachers to help all students achieve at higher levels and to accelerate the growth of underperforming groups.

The district’s 2016 science scores showed particular improvement over the previous year. For example, high school science proficiency rates increased from 48% to 53% and are now nearly the same as the state. Fifth-grade and eighth-grade science scores increased, as well, but remain lower than the state average.

“All across our district, we see examples of students from every racial group who are excelling and earning state and national recognition for achievement. We want to see those examples become a consistent pattern among all students,” Pascoe said.

“While we celebrate slow and steady proficiency improvements within each racial group, we remain dissatisfied with our pattern of racially predictable achievement gaps,” said Pascoe. “Our work around educational excellence and racial equity is helping us move in the right direction, but we’re not yet where we want to be in closing achievement gaps.”

 In late August, the state will release additional indicators that show how schools are doing to accelerate student growth to close the achievement gap on all measures and improve graduation rates.

The state’s World’s Best Workforce legislation supports continued progress in those areas, along with ensuring that students are well prepared for kindergarten; read at grade level by grade three; and are college/career ready. Schools and the district use test results and other data to develop continuous improvement plans.