Royal Happenings: WMMS students show continued progress in science

Watertown-Mayer Elementary School remains above the state average and continues to show academic growth on the Minnesota State Science MCAs.

This past spring, 72.6 percent of Watertown-Mayer Elementary School fifth graders were proficient on the first MCA III (based on the 2009 state standards), far above the state average of 57.9 percent.
Students take their first science assessment in fifth grade. The science MCA is based on cognitive levels: recall, skill/concept, strategic thinking, and extended thinking.  Students are presented with approximately 11 questions in each of the state standard areas: nature of science and engineering, physical science, earth and space science, and life science.  WMES has shown performance growth since the inception of the science MCA:  46.8 percent in 2008, 61.1 percent in 2009, 61.5 percent in 2010, and 68.9 percent in 2011.

To continue our growth in science, WMES staff members have been participating in a state MSTP/STEM grant though Resource Training & Solutions.  This state-funded cohort engages teachers in a job-embedded model of professional development and study in which the practice of Lesson Study is used to improve teaching and learning.  In the past two years, staff have worked to improve lessons using processes of scientific inquiry and engineering.

This year, we are learning about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Frameworks for K-12 Science Education from the National Research Council (NRC).  We will use this professional development to continue to provide students with high quality science instruction at WMES.

Royal Happenings is an occasional feature in the Carver County News. Content is provided by Watertown-Mayer staff.