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ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 25, 2014 -- Education Minnesota President Denise Specht released the following statement on the results of the MCA tests given to students in the spring of 2014.
 
“MCA data are almost worthless for teachers and parents who want to improve instruction for individual students,” Specht said. “The results come too late for teachers to help the students they had last spring and the results are too unsophisticated to guide teachers who have those students this fall. It might get better next year when the state returns the results much quicker, but right now high-stakes tests like the MCAs have become an expensive distraction from our educators’ mission of preparing each child for a successful life.”

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“Given the limited usefulness of standardized tests like the MCAs, it’s time for Minnesotans to ask why the federal government requires these tests, why so much taxpayer money goes toward developing and scoring them and why schools feel compelled to dedicate so many weeks to test prep,” she said. “The members of Education Minnesota believe it’s time to transition to fewer, better tests that will help educators actually improve learning for the students in their classes.”

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“I’m conflicted when people talk about rising test scores,” Specht said. “It’s nice for educators to get a pat on the back, but they are being complimented for building better bubble fillers, which is a terrible goal for a school system.”

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“There’s nothing new in the MCA scores of individual students if the adults in those students’ lives were paying attention during the school year,” Specht said. “Grades, conferences and even informal emails all give a better sense of how students are learning than these academic snapshots from a few days last spring. Educators strongly encourage parents and guardians to get involved, and stay involved, with their child’s education all year.”

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota represents 70,000 professionals working together for excellence in education for all students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.