Beginning this week, students in Grades 3-11 in the Redwood Area School District (RASD) are going to be assessed in what they have learned in math, reading and science as the series of Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests are administered to them.
Beginning this week, students in Grades 3-11 in the Redwood Area School District (RASD) are going to be assessed in what they have learned in math, reading and science as the series of Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests are administered to them. The tests, which are utilized to guage the effectiveness of a school district as it strives to align its curriculum to what students need to know before they graduate from high school, provide data districts are able to use as they move forward with educational programming. From April 23-May 7 students are going to be taking the tests, with tests scheduled nearly every day during that testing window. According to Darcy Josephson, RASD director of teaching and learning, students are going to be taking the MCAs April 23-29, with the math assessments taking place April 30-May 7. A science MCA is also being administered to students in Grade 5, which is May 8, Grade 8, which is May 12, and for those high school students enrolled in biology, which is May 8. Our students are going to be taking all of the tests online this year,” Josephson said, adding all districts in Minnesota are required to administer the reading, math and science tests online starting next year. The reading MCA is given to students in Grades 3-8, with this year’s sophomores also taking a reading test, with Grades 3-8 and this year’s junior class taking the math test. Specific dates regarding when each child is going to be taking each of these tests was sent to families in a letter from the district. “We have set our expectations high,” said Rick Elling-worth, RASD superintendent. “We have created an atmosphere where we are focusing more on the results than we ever have before.” Yet, added Ellingworth, it is not just about getting students to achieve the level of proficiency in those subjects. The important outcome is for students to demonstrate growth this year compared to previous tests. School leadership has spoken with teachers and students during the months leading up to the tests, emphasizing the importance of each student putting forth their best effort as they take the MCAs this year.
It is also important, stressed Ellingworth, for students to be in attendance on the days when the tests are administered. “We are required to have 95 percent participation,” said Josephson, adding those schools which do not achieve that goal are cited. “We need to be sure everyone is here.” One year ago, the Redwood Area Board of Education approved rewriting curriculum in the district, as available textbooks did not include curriculum that fit with the state standards. Ellingworth also stated the MCAs, while important for the district, are a window in time and are one of many indicators school districts utilize as they plan for the future. Parents are being asked to help encourage their children to put forth their best effort by talking with their child about the importance of the tests and to make sure they are getting plenty of rest and good nutrition, especially during the days leading up to the assessments.