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COVID-year MCA results one of many data points to inform instruction

Aug. 27, 2021 - The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released school accountability reports on Aug. 27 that includes traditional MCA data for the 2020-21 school year.

In a meeting with school district assessment staff, MDE issued caveats about “trusting” the data given the interruptions to learning that occurred during an entire school year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “MDE does not support comparing 2021 statewide assessment results to previous year or trend data without appropriate context and consideration.” Rather, the state recommends using the information “as one indicator to identify and assist school recovery efforts from the pandemic, and understand the way different student groups have been impacted.”

Edina students learned in a variety of models last year, depending on fluctuations in state guidelines and COVID conditions. Many also experienced interruptions to their learning due to COVID exposure, quarantine and illness. Edina, like most districts in the state, experienced a drop in MCA test participation last year compared to 2019 testing:

  • Approximately  1,200 fewer EPS students participated in the MCA reading test in 2021.
  • Approximately  1,400 fewer students participated in the MCA math test in 2021.
  • Approximately  900 fewer students participated in the MCA science test in 2021.

The district also notes that of the 2021 non-test takers, the majority performed at the proficient, or exceeds proficient level  on  their MCA tests in 2019.

2021 MCA data for Edina students:

  • EPS saw a smaller decline in 2021 reading and math scores compared to the rest of the state.
  • EPS MCA reading results in 2021 were higher in grades 4, 8 and 10 compared to the EPS 2019 results, and to state results for those grades and years.
  • The 2021 EPS overall proficiency for students who participated in MCA testing is: 75.2 in reading; 68.5 percent in math;  64.9 percent in science.

Summer opportunities helped prepare for fall learning

To help students become better prepared for their return to a more normal school year, EPS provided a variety of learning opportunities this summer. These opportunities allowed families to choose their level of engagement based upon their schedule and the needs of their students. They included: (*indicates new offerings)

  • Summer Success Center (K-5)
  • Summer Success (6-8)*
  • Transition to High School skills course*
  • Algebra Boost Course*
  • Weekly Math and Reading email lessons*
  • Webpage with summer learning options for math and reading*
  • Community Education Programming

2021-22 Teaching & Learning Action Items

This fall, FastBridge, NWEA MAP, and classroom assessments will be administered in September to garner  important and updated learning data; especially for the many students who did not participate in MCA testing last spring.. Building leadership teams will continue to frequently monitor learning throughout the entire year.

Training was provided in August on the continued implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) for all site leadership teams, which consist of principals and teacher leaders. The PLC process includes a continual cycle of assessing and analyzing individual student progress. This is followed by planning and implementing targeted instruction based on the specific needs of each student.

During the school year, efforts will focus on specific areas of development:

Reading: Schools will begin implementation of the PreK-5 Comprehensive Literacy Plan with a focus this year on training staff in instructional practices to support building foundational literacy skills for all students.

  • EPS is increasing the number of staff trained in LETRS, FastBridge data usage, and dyslexia identification and support.   

Math: This year, new diagnostic assessments in math will be implemented to inform targeted and differentiated instruction within the core classroom.

Science: The district will provide continued support of the science review cycle at all levels:

  • The middle school team of science teachers engaged in professional development this summer around the new state science standards, and the Amplify curriculum. This training will continue throughout the 2021-22 school year.
  • The elementary and high school science teams will continue the final stages of the curriculum review process this year with a focus on professional development, aligned with the instructional shifts required in the new standards.

Parents will receive a copy of their students’ MCA report in mid-September. Results are currently available in the Learner’s Edge app in the Edina portal. For more information about MCA results, visit the MDE Report Card.