Retakes may explain Minnesota math gains

  • Article by: KIM McGUIRE, STEVE BRANDT and GLENN HOWATT , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: August 1, 2012 - 6:11 AM

Elementary and middle school students earned higher scores on revamped statewide test, but most also got to take it up to three times.

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wndwmkrAug. 1, 12 6:56 AM

Guess we will be seeing more commercials by "Education Minnesota". Minute anything negative comes up the propaganda gurus blast us and the kids on how much they care and what a great job they are doing.

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jimford123Aug. 1, 12 7:13 AM

One of the state's leading assessment directors compared that approach to a card player going to Las Vegas and getting three cards at a time instead of one. "It increases the probability of having a good hand like it increases the probability of a good score," said David Heistad, Bloomington's director of research, evaluation and assessment. Now my thoughts... The goal is for the students to master the concepts...period... whether they take the test once or twice or more does not matter.... let's keep focused on mastery of mathematics and worry not how many times they take the test... what ever works... Isn't the goal to turn out students with stronger math backgrounds rather than just taking the test once??? Don't we want the kids to win?? J Ford

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daisy14Aug. 1, 12 7:48 AM

Measuring progress on one test day in April when there are still 6-8 weeks left of school doesn't always give the best results. Perhaps those teachers (and students) looked at scores and decided they needed to reinforce concepts a little more. I know the kids I worked with did not like the fact they had not met the benchmark and tried harder the next time. One day of testing doesn't always tell what a person learns. And kids didn't get to pick computers over paper--the district did. Come on...

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imaluciafanAug. 1, 12 7:50 AM

We spend more and more and the results don't improve. It is time to give all parents vouchers to decide where to send their kids to school. The current public school system of "one size fits all", clearly does not work. The teachers union is way to strong and it if affecting our whole country.

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jsmithxcAug. 1, 12 8:04 AM

The state tests are not a random collection of questions about math. The tests are specifically designed to assess the student progress on educational standards that need to be taught in the classroom. Last year, educators had the opportunity to look at very general results which gave a hint as to which standards the students struggled with. It allowed teachers the opportunity to revisit these standards and be sure that students mastered them. Its about kids learning in order to be successful - the three opportunities to test gave teachers a good opportunity to fill educational gaps found the first time around.

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RenvilleAug. 1, 12 8:07 AM

So let me see if I have this correct: The scores went up. I repeat: The scores went up. Kids did better. Isn't this what we want? If you play baseball and you swing and miss and then practice and hit the ball the next time, isn't that better?

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kennyp81Aug. 1, 12 8:21 AM

Here we go, let the unabated teacher / union bashing begin...even though our State's kids showed improvement those in the conservative leaning ilk will find a way to make negative comments. I couldn't imagine being a teacher these days...anyone remember when teachers and the teaching profession used to be respected?

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lrnmthAug. 1, 12 8:46 AM

First, it's not at all like going to Vegas and being dealt three cards instead of one. Dealing cards is a random act, taking a test is not random. Second, students were not given the choice between taking the test on computer or by paper and pencil. The computer version was new, and in my experience, there were fewer technology glitches the second time students took the test, and students were more comfortable with the format.

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lrnmthAug. 1, 12 8:55 AM

MCA testing has been a moving target in Minnesota, making it virtually impossible to compare scores year-to-year. Starting with the Minnesota Basic Standards test in late '80s early '90s teachers and students have been faced with changing standards about every 5 years. Just when a level of success is attained in teaching grade-level material, the expectation is changed. The next year or two scores drop, then begin to recover and climb. Just when the scores start to climb we get a new set of standards, the latest being Algebra for all in grade eight. Tests scores dropped last year, rebounded this year. Now, what will we see next year? Students next year may take the test more than once (determined by the school or district) but only the final test will count. The rules change, so comparison is faulty. There are more ways the year-to-year comparison is flawed, but too much to write in this format

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peppermint1900Aug. 1, 12 8:58 AM

So what are these kids going to do when they go to college. You get one chance to take a test and if you screw it up too bad. I am really afraid for our nation in the future. You don't always get second chances in life.

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