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Saint Paul Public Schools Shows Gains in All Subjects on MCA Test

Posted August, 25, 2022

 

Today, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released districtwide results for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) and ACCESS for English Language Learners (ELLs) for the 2021-22 school year.

 

After two years of disrupted learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) students showed gains across all subjects for nearly every race/ethnic and student group on the MCA compared to 2021. One group, American Indian students, saw declines in science. By comparison, Minnesota overall experienced a slight increase in math and declines in reading and science for all students.

 

Overall, these results lag behind 2019 achievement levels and are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels. While the data is moving in a positive direction, it should be interpreted with caution due to the pandemic and challenges of returning to in-person learning after an extended period of distance learning.

 

“I am cautiously optimistic about these results and the gains our students made in the 2021-22 school year,” said Superintendent Joe Gothard. “Funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) has allowed us to better support student achievement, particularly for those groups that were most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with our SPPS Achieves strategic plan, I believe we will continue to see increased achievement in the coming years.”

 

The MCA is a standardized test taken each spring by students across the state in grades 3-8 and 11 (for math); grades 3-8 and 10 (for reading); and grades 5, 8 and high school (for science). ACCESS is a standardized test taken each winter by students in grades K-12 who are learning English as a second language.

 

The results show increases in math, reading and science:

 

  • 35% of students were proficient in reading, up 2 percentage points from 33% in 2020-21 but down from 2018-19 (40%)
  • 25% of students were proficient in math, up 4 percentage points from 21% in 2020-21 but down from 2018-19 (32%)
  • 25% were proficient in science, up 1 percentage point from 24% in 2020-21 but down from 2018-19 (29%)

 

The number of students who took the MCAs increased compared to 2021, with 88% of students testing in reading, 85% of students testing in math and 84% of students testing in science. Of the students who took the ACCESS for ELLs in 2022, 8% were proficient in English, up 1 percentage point compared to 2021 and a 2 percentage point decrease from 2019.

 

A complete summary of SPPS MCA trends is available here.

 

Accountability (North Star) Report

North Star, Minnesota's school accountability system, includes indicators for determining student academic progress and achievement. In addition to analyzing MCA test score data, the system compares a student's academic achievement year over year and considers attendance. It also measures progress toward English language proficiency and evaluates each high school's graduation rates. The total number of SPPS schools identified decreased from 29 schools in 2018 to 20 schools in 2022. A full summary is available from the Minnesota Department of Education.