While Minnesota science scores remain flat, STMA students’ scores are pulling away from their state peers. MCA-II Science scores for STMA tenth grade students showed 61.4% were proficient compared to 53.8% for their Minnesota peers. The 7.6% difference compared to 1.2% last year ranked tenth grade students in the top 25% of students proficient in Minnesota. The results mirror the recent ACT scores for STMA graduates who scores ranked above Minnesota and the nation.
MCA-II scores for STMA eighth grade students showed 53.3% proficient compared to 44.4% for Minnesota. The percent proficient of STMA fifth grade students was 58.5% compared to 46% for Minnesota. These scores ranked STMA students in the top 16% and 17% in Minnesota, respectively. The Science MCA-II measures student performance on Minnesota’s Science Standards which define what students should know and be able to do in the three grade levels tested.
Dr. Jim Behle, STMA superintendent stated that the scores show a commitment to science education in addition to the emphasis in No Child Left Behind on reading and math. “We know that students need a rigorous and comprehensive science curriculum to prepare them for college and the workforce. We live in an area where companies rely on people who are highly competent in science, math, technology and engineering whether those entering the trades or careers requiring four year college degrees.”
The district is coming off a year of studying its K-12 science programs and will be implementing recommendations to continue to improve science education at STMA. According to Dr. Ann Marie Foucault, Curriculum Director, new science units will be added to elementary science, new textbooks purchased and new rigorous science standards incorporated into the science program. ACT college readiness standards will be incorporated into the science curriculum. This year’s entering ninth grade class will be the first who are required to take physics, biology and chemistry to graduate.
“We hear the calls for urgency to improve science education in this country in order to compete in a global economy,” Behle said. “We think we are making great strides at STMA thanks to the commitment of our teachers and the support of our community."