Document Type

Research Study

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Abstract

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) is a test taken by all Minnesota students in high school. There are three sections on the MCA Test: Math, Reading, and Science. MCA scores are used primarily for ranking Minnesota high schools. Schools are then able to tell where they rank in the state of Minnesota. The Reading and Science section are taken in 10th grade, with scores ranging from 1000-1099. Math assessments are given in 11th grade, with ranges 1100-1199. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) used MCA scores to detect students who they believed would not be career ready. Numerous studies have been done by MNSCU regarding MCA benchmarks. MNSCU is now currently replaced by Minnesota State; however their research regarding MCA scores and student success is still valuable. A benchmark is a score cut-off that MNSCU believed a student must meet to succeed in college level courses. St. Cloud State University (SCSU) uses similar benchmarks to gain access to their math courses. Using SCSU math MCA cut-scores and the MNSCU reading cut-scores, this analysis will analyze the success of students in regards to their MCA scores. The Math cut-score that MNSCU created was a score of 1157, while the reading cut-score was a score of 1016. According to MNSCU, if a student scores 1157 on their math MCA they would be predicted to have a 50% chance of receiving a ‘B’ or better in their first-term math course. They also would be predicted to have a 75% chance of receiving a ‘C’ or better in their first-term math course. Similarly, students scoring a 1016 on their reading MCA would be predicted to have a 50% chance of receiving a ‘B’ or better in their first-term English course. Also, a 75% chance of receiving a ‘C’ or better in their first-term English course. The math cut-score was specifically designed for a college algebra course, which at SCSU is Math 112. The reading cut-score was designed for an entry level writing course, which at SCSU is English 190 and 191. Princeton school district is interested in how MCA scores affect college readiness, while seeing the effect of the MCA score on their first-year grades.

This analysis examines students’ grades in their first year, along with analyzing the percentages of students meeting the benchmarks. Further analysis examines the MCA scores and their effectiveness in predicting incoming first-year students’ grades at SCSU. Using this analysis, the Princeton school district can better prepare their students. Students can gain insight on college readiness based on their MCA exam scores.

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