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Hastings student scores show drop in reading, but math scores remains consistent

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) scores released last week show that Minnesota students had a very difficult time with the reading test and more success with the math tests.

Likewise, Hastings students -- Hastings High School, Hastings Middle School and Kennedy, McAuliffe and Pinecrest elementary schools —- experienced similar proficiency results.

On a statewide average, students had a 61 percent proficiency in math (down from 62 percent), and a 58 percent proficiency in reading (down from 76 percent), according to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

Hastings students had a 65 proficiency in math and 60 percent proficiency in reading.

"The MCA test results, in reading, are a reflection of a new test that was administered by MDE during the 2012-13 school year," said Hastings School District 200 Superintendent Tim Collins. "Due to the fact that it is a new test we are not able to compare reading scores to results from previous years. We will now use this new baseline to monitor progress in helping our students meet the more rigorous reading standards.

"As a school district we use a variety of tests, and data, to determine if our students are making the needed progress to be successful once they leave the Hastings Community. The MCA results are just one of the benchmarks that we use."

Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius urged people to use the test results as one tool in determining students' progress.

"It's important to look at today's test results for what they are -- a snapshot in time that tells us how students are doing in mastering our state standards," she said. "Any time a new test based on new standards is given, a drop in scores is to be expected."

However, setting high expectations is the right things to do, she said.

"If we want our students to compete in a global economy, we must continue to stretch and hold ourselves accountable for helping students reach higher standards," she said.

Students in third to eighth grades take the math and reading tests, and students in 10th grade take the reading test. Those in the 11th grade take the math test.

This was the first year students took new tests in reading based on more challenging reading standards. Minnesota adopted more rigorous standards to help ensure students are career and college ready upon high school graduation.

In 2012, student who took the math tests were given the option of taking the online test up to three times and using their highest score. This year, students had only one opportunity to take the test.