MCA grade changing policy creates long-term benefits

New incentive offers no downsides

Colin Canaday

The decision to increase students’ grades based on their success with the math portion of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments incentivizes students to pay more attention in class, helps their long term mental health and allows the school receive much-needed funding in order to help those struggling in school.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) is used to view how well schools are implementing curriculum and instructing students in reading, science, and mathematics. The reading and mathematics assessments are also used in federal and state accountability measurements.

By prioritizing the benefits those in lower-level classes receive, such as the ⅔ letter grade boost in Advanced Algebra for receiving a “Meets Standard”, it allows students to focus more on learning the material and less on only memorizing it to get a good grade on a test. Furthermore, this prioritization allows students in lower-level classes to create a firm foundation for studying while also generating the confidence necessary to possibly move to a higher-level class the following year.

The new policy also has the potential to improve long-term mental health. Being so reliant on each unit test grade or final is a key cause for anxiety within the educational system, By eliminating this, students can feel more relaxed, taking time for mental health needs, and in turn aiding their test scores even more.

Moreover, more students taking the test allows the Minnesota Department of Education to view where more funding allocation may be needed, as well as allowing teachers to better fit their students’ needs. In the case that many students do below average on the MCA’s, that is a clear indication that the curriculum may need to be changed. In that sense, it is clear that the MCA is a very beneficial tool for both the state and the school district as a means for analyzing and forming better teaching tactics.

Given that taking the test has no negative incentives for those who may perform below average, this opportunity is a win-win and should be treated as such. By taking the MCA, you are giving yourself a large advantage over many of those who do not take it, it is a great indication of your personal academic growth and the growth of the school as a whole.