MCA offers grade change opportunity for juniors

Policy sparks controversy for some students

Juniors+Raina+Kronfeld+and+Sophie+Yakes+do+their+math+work+during+class.+The+math+department+announced+a+new+policy+with+the+ability+to+increase+students%27+grades+in+their+current+math+class+if+they+meet+or+exceed+the+standards+of+the+MCA.+

Maria Perez Barriga

Juniors Raina Kronfeld and Sophie Yakes do their math work during class. The math department announced a new policy with the ability to increase students’ grades in their current math class if they meet or exceed the standards of the MCA.

Maria Perez Barriga

With hopes of motivating students to take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, head of the math department Elizabeth Huesing said the new policy could help increase the math grades for students who exceeded or met the standards set in place by the test.  

Students in Advanced Algebra who meet the standards on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), their final grade will increase by two-thirds of a letter grade. In the second semester, an option is given to raise it by two-thirds of a letter grade or opting out of the final. If students exceed, they could earn a full letter grade. 

This also goes for Precalculus, AP Calculus and AP Statistics classes, but only applies to first semester grades. This also counts for the science MCA for biology and IB biology. 

Junior Samiya Mohamed said although having the chance to raise your first semester math grade is a positive option for students, she dislikes incentivizing the test in order to encourage students to take it.

It’s great that they’re giving us the opportunity to get a better grade if we do better on the test, but I don’t like that they are trying to influence us to take it. It’s a good thing to take the test but I don’t think it’s for a good purpose”

— Samiya Mohamed

“It’s great that they’re giving us the opportunity to get a better grade if we do better on the test, but I don’t like that they are trying to influence us to take it. It’s a good thing to take the test but I don’t think it’s for a good purpose,” Mohamed said. 

According to Huesing, in previous years some students have chosen to not take the MCA, which has led the math department to come up with a solution to get more students to take it.

“In years past, we have had quite a few students that chose to opt out of the math test and when you opt out, it comes to you as not proficient, but we know at St. Louis Park many of our students are proficient and can meet or exceed standards. So we did this an incentive for students to take the test,” Huesing said. 

Mohamed said she would have liked for some student input on the decision and for more information beforehand about the new policy.

“That was unannounced, they should have discussed this with us before even making this,” Mohammed said. 

Sophomore Alessandra Munoz said the rule set in place for the MCA will have mixed results from students, depending on the students’ grade in the class.

“It’s unfair to the kids that don’t get to increase their score especially if they did work hard both semesters and maybe didn’t do as well as they wanted to,” Munoz said. “It’s not fair to let all the kids that did do better than most get extra credit.”

Huesing said she is looking forward to seeing the results from the MCA and is hopeful this will allow students to display their knowledge.

“I’m excited to see if it motivates more students to take the test because it is really nice for students to have that chance to show what they have learned and have really mastered the standards,” Huesing said. 

The math MCA for juniors will take place March 17-18 and the science portion will take place March 10-12.