At the October 2002 Education Minnesota Professional Conference, MREdCo attended a workshop titled, "Using MCA Data to Inform Instruction". The presenter (a CFL employee) offered suggestions on how to increase student's scores on the MCA Math section.

MCA's have been criticized as the testing mechanism of the Profile of Learning, and not an academic standard. The suggested approach to increasing Math scores illustrates that the Profile is no longer centered on teaching Math as an exact science, rather it is one of estimation and feeling.

Sample problems to optimize problem solving and MCA test scores were:
(These samples were distributed and discussed as helpful tools by the presenter at Education Minnesota's conference.)

Problem
There are 24 bottles of soda pop to a case, and there are 177 bottles of soda to be put into cases. About how many cases will be needed?

Don't let the computation be "The answer" (enriched answers).

Sam estimates 10 cases
Do you agree with Sam's estimate? For what reason? Why do you think Sam chose that estimate?

State the problem in generic terms

A case of soda pop always holds the same number of bottles. Your job is to put the bottles into cases. About how many cases will be needed?

How do you solve this type of problem?
What other information do you need to solve the problem?

Embed the problem in a rich context.

Northland Beverages packages soda pop in cases. It is your job to order the cases. On the one hand you cannot run out of cases during daily production but, on the other hand, there is not a lot of warehouse space to store cases until they are used. Make a plan for ordering the cases. Gather actual data to solve your problem.