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Students have mixed results on state science test

The results don't mean much to anyone at the moment but District 196 teachers and administrators found out late last week how their students did on a science test students statewide took earlier this year.

For the record, students in Rosemount mostly did better than their counterparts statewide.

Fifth graders, eighth graders and high school students took the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment science test this spring. The test, given for the first time this year, is designed to determine how well students measure up to statewide science standards.

Rosemount High School had the best results among Rosemount school and was among the best performers in District 196. 63.6 percent of RHS students either met or exceeded state standards on the test. Statewide, 43 percent of students passed.

Fifth grade students at Shannon Park Elementary (46.3 percent), Rosemount Elementary (44.9 percent) and Red Pine Elementary (43.5 percent) also passed the test at a higher rate than than fifth graders statewide (39 percent).

Other Rosemount area schools were slightly behind state averages. At Parkview Elementary 35.3 percent of fifth graders met or exceeded standards and at Diamond Path Elementary 26.6 percent passed.

Rosemount Middle School eighth graders also passed at a lower rate than students statewide. 32.3 percent of RMS eighth graders passed the test compared to 38 percent statewide.

District 196 superintendent John Currie said he wasn't surprised to see low passing rates statewide. He knew going in the first-year test would serve as a baseline for future MCA science exams.

"This is pretty standard, I think, for a new test," he said. "We'll take what we can learn from it.

"It's hard to know exactly the entire meaning, but it's a place for us to start."

Currie said the district will use the results to evaluate how it teaches science.

For now, at least, that's about all districts can do with the numbers they got from the state. The results of the MCA science test, which was administered online, do not count toward whether school districts make adequate progress toward No Child Left Behind goals and students do not have to pass the test to graduate. School districts have complained in the past that the fact there is no incentive for students to do their best on MCA tests has hurt results.

Currie said it does not appear next year's MCA science test will count toward AYP or graduation, either.