Average science test scores climb‘Science area needs ramping up,’ Spicuzza says
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
School District 833 students scored 8.2 percent higher than students statewide in science tests given in April.
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment II tests were given in fifth and eighth grades, and to students taking high school biology classes this spring in lieu of final exams.
Students also, for the first time, took a state test online.
District 833 fifth- and eighth-graders each showed an increase of 7 percent over those students that took last year’s test.
The relative standing of district to state scores has improved, according to Rick Spicuzza, district assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment, with more students proficient than those statewide.
Eighth-grade students at Woodbury “did outstanding,” he said, with a 17 percent increase over last year’s test to 65 percent proficiency this year.
Oltman saw an 11 percent jump in scores from 29 to 40 percent.
This year’s Park High School students increased their score by 6 percent over last year’s 43 percent.
Woodbury’s scores rose 13 percent over 55 percent last year.
To boost science learning in middle schools, new science and technology curriculum has been introduced at Oltman and Woodbury for one year and will be extended to include Lake and Cottage Grove middle schools this year, Spicuzza said.
He said elementary schools are putting more time and resources toward science.
Superintendent Mark Porter said, July 22, that he is proud of the continued student improvement that is “well in excess of the state average and consistent with our high expectations.”
There will be more analysis at the upcoming school board workshop on Aug. 6, but Spicuzza and Porter are concerned that previous gaps between white and minority students still exist.
“This will be our main challenge in coming years,” Spicuzza said.
The district will be focusing efforts on strategies to address them, according to Porter.
Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said test results show that the strong focus on science is “paying off,” but that much work remains to be done.