Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Anne Williams
Bemidji Pioneer 

Area students struggle to meet science standards


There was not much of a difference between the state test scores of last year and those of the previous year, according to information released last week from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

More than 170,000 students in grades 5, 8 and high school took the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-II science tests, which measure student performance on state science standards.

About 54 percent of high school students in the state were proficient, a slight increase in the percentage of proficient scores each year since 2008. Fewer than half, 45 percent, of eighth-grade students were proficient, representing a slight decline from 2010.

The percentage of fifth-graders who were proficient remained consistent with 2010.

Locally, the majority of students at Blackduck, Kelliher, Nevis and TrekNorth high schools met or exceeded state standards for the subject. More than half of the fifth-graders from Nevis Elementary and fifth-graders and eighth-graders from Schoolcraft Learning Community also received proficient test scores.

But the MDE revealed many school districts across the state showed a high percentage of students partially or not meeting any state science standards.

Among this list are fifth- and eighth-graders in the Blackduck, Kelliher and Laporte school districts; students in grades 5, 8 and high school in the Red Lake, Cass Lake-Bena, Bagley, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, Bemidji and Voyageurs Expeditionary school districts; and eighth-graders in the Nevis School District and at TrekNorth Junior & Senior High School.

According to MDE Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, the mixed results may be a reflection of the transition from teaching the 2003 academic standards to teaching the new standards implemented in 2009. 2011 is the last year the science MCA-II tests are based on the 2003 academic standards. The 2012 science MCA-III tests will be based on the 2009 standards.

Currently, results from the science test do not impact Adequate Yearly Progress, also known as AYP. Reading and math MCA-II test results, which are used to calculate AYP under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, will be released in mid- to late-September.

For a complete list of test scores, visit


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