The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Standardized testing returns

MCA is back to test students at Park
Zara Fakier
Junior Calvin Otos gets ready to take the MCA during biology March 26. All juniors took the MCA during the block scheduling.

The MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) season has rolled around the corner to measure schools’ ability to teach their students and what can be improved. The MCA is an annual test done in Minnesota which looks at the english, math and science skills across grades, beginning in third grade. It’s especially important for schools because it affects how much funding a school may acquire from the government.

According to senior Caleb Kottke, the test is used to determine how you fare compared to other people in your grade in topics such as english, math and science.

“(It is a) very long test — it’s supposed to determine your knowledge level in a specific subject like english, math and science,” Kottke said. “It gives you a number based on whether you are at the average level for your grade or above or below.”

According to junior Corinna Farrar-Collins, the MCA is detrimental to students and throws away time.
“They take away time from school. They are a waste of time, they can be useful to show where you are and test specific things,” Farrar-Collins said. “Even so, classes and tests in class are what show that better.”

Physics teacher Peter Dangerfield disagrees, according to him the MCA can be useful for determining if teachers are triumphant. in teaching their students.

“What the school can try to do is figure out how they are succeeding. I know all students when they are leaving to know x, y and z,” Dangerfield said. “The state of Minnesota has laid it out. You can go and look at the standards.”

Even though the test may be useful for laying out metrics, according to Kottke, the test is ultimately not important for teachers and students alike.

“It’s not important, frankly, it’s a stupid test that puts a lot of stress on kids and I think it wastes a lot of class time. I know for a fact that teachers aren’t able to see what you got wrong, so even if you got a below average score, when your teacher goes in to see your score they can’t see until the summer, when you left class,” Kottke said. “They can’t see the specific points in the subject which you struggled on.”

Dangerfield said standardized testing has issues when it is the only metric for how a student is doing in school.

“The problem with standardized testing is that there are so many factors that go into how students and districts perform on standardized testing,” Dangerfield said. “The problem is when testing is used as the only metric for how a school district is working, it doesn’t tell the whole story.”

According to Farrar-Collins, she doesn’t spend the time preparing for the MCA like other tests because of their lack of effect on her life.

“I never prepare for the MCAS, they never affect me,” Farrar-Collins said. “They aren’t going to rig my school career really past high school, like the ACT and the SAT.”

According to Dangerfield, standardized testing shouldn’t be used as the only factor because there are issues tied to factors outside of students’ control.

“Do kids go to school hungry? Are kids coming from affluent backgrounds or not? We know that that plays a role in how someone will score on a standardized test,” Dangerfield said. “When it is only looked at as the only data point it can become problematic.”

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About the Contributors
Serena Bovee, Copy Editor
Greetings all, my name is Serena and this will be my third year working on this publication. I am one of the condemned copy editors working on the Echo this year. In my free time, I partake in listening to some of my revered music. From the works of the late Dimitri Shostakovich all the way to the new and looming artist Chris Christodoulou. When I’m not doing that I am probably sifting through the petrichor while promenading through Saint Louis Park.
Zara Fakier, Echo Staffer
Hi my name is Zara Fakier, I am a junior! This is my first year on Echo. In my free time I like to hang out with my friends and family and to travel. I’m excited to start on Echo this week and looking forward to covering the sporting events this year!

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