April 7, 2014
Tests are an important part of education. They measure what students know. They provide feedback and information for the students, the teachers, the administration and state education coordinators.
Testing at the Owatonna High School starts in a few days. The schedule will vary and arrival times at school may be later, if you’re a senior. Students need to be prepared for what lies ahead.
There are two sets of standardized tests- the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment, or MCA, and the American College Test, or ACT. These two tests have different purposes and are given to different grades.
The MCA is designed to measure the achievement of Minnesota students in regard to state standards. The results are used to determine curriculum decisions at both state and district levels. The state and district want to ensure that the students are progressing as they advance through school.
There are three different MCA tests- the Reading, Math and Science tests. There used to be an MCA Writing test given to the ninth graders. This is the first year that is not happening. The sophomores take the MCA Reading test. Juniors are required to take the MCA Math test, and the ACT, as of this year. Seniors have had to pass all the MCA tests in order to graduate.
Typically, juniors take the ACT test. However, you can take it as many times as you want. Most colleges require either an ACT or SAT score to be admitted into the college. The ACT test is a timed test that evaluates the student on science, math, reading, and English grammar. The scores of all parts are put together to form a composite score. This is the score the college looks at.
This year, the Owatonna High School administration has decided to begin going away from the MCA tests. However, they are still required, for now. The first step in going away from these tests is gravitating towards the ACT test. As of this year, all juniors are required to take the ACT test to graduate. It is taken during class and is free. Other times are offered, and you have to pay for them, if you wish to retake the ACT test.
Testing at the OHS is coming up fast. MCA and ACT tests are beginning in the middle of April. The sophomores and juniors will begin their respective MCA tests on Tuesday, April 15. The schedule is different, too. Testing is from 8 am to 11 am, followed by lunch and periods three and four. Wednesday, April 16, the sophomores and juniors will finish their tests from 8 am to 11 am, followed, again, by lunch and periods one and two. Both days, the freshmen will remain in TMM and the seniors do not have to report to school until third hour at 11 am.
On April 21, there will be a 45 minute TMM where the juniors will complete their pre-ACT information. The now mandatory ACT test will be given on April 23 from 8 am until 1 pm. Freshmen and sophomores will have TMM, a presentation and lunch. Period four will be after this. Seniors do not have to report to school until 1 pm.
April 24 and 25 are ACT test days for those students with accommodations. The test will be given from 8 am. to 12:30 pm. The MCA make-up day will be on April 30.
Testing is an important part of education. As a school, this needs to be taken seriously. Not only do the scores reflect the students, but also the teachers and the administration. Please stay informed about all things testing, including the testing schedule. MagNet will be keeping the school updated through Twitter, @ohsmagnet.