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Science scores up at all levels in Rochester

Science proficiency rose this year for Rochester public schools as the district stayed close to statewide increases, according to testing data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Education.

A total of 55.7 percent of Rochester school district students tested in grades five, eight, and in high school are proficient in science, a 2.3 percentage-point increase compared with last year, according to Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-Series II results. The tests were administered online.

The statewide science proficiency for all students tested this year was 48.6 percent, a 2.8 percentage-point increase compared to last year. Proficiency on the tests is not required to graduate.

Increases were smaller in the district this year compared to last, but Rochester public schools have seen total proficiency increases ranging from 10 to 12 percentage points at each level compared to when MCA-II science test were first given in 2008.

"That is very, very promising to see increases in double digits," said Romain Dallemand, superintendent of the Rochester school district.


The Byron school district recorded the highest science proficiencies in southeastern Minnesota this year, 69.3 percent of students tested. Overall, the district has seen a nine percentage-point increase in science proficiency since 2008.

Byron Superintendent Wendy Shannon credited the district's success on the work of teachers and a focus on aligning the district's science curriculum with state standards.

"We've been very focused on doing that the last 10 years, and I think you can see results that pay off, that our students are doing very well on the assessments," she said.

Other schools in southeastern Minnesota  with science proficiencies well above the state average include Kasson-Mantorville (66.3 percent), Zumbrota-Mazeppa (64.5 percent), and Pine Island (60.8 percent).

Statewide, "we're holding strong and steady," Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said. "We've got a ways to go yet so that we have the majority of our students proficient in science, but we are making some good progress."

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