In its first year of using new math standards, the Board of Education and school administrators discovered Nebraska students have more work to do to meet proficiency standards. Test results released August 22 showed four out of 10 students failed to meet Nebraska’s new math goals.
On the other hand, scores for Nebraska students meeting or exceeding state standards for reading increased from 69 percent to 72 percent. It was the second year of testing for reading. The state has tested for writing skills since 2001 and scores have continued to go up with each passing year. For 2011, 89 percent of students were proficient in writing.
Nebraska Education Commissioner Roger Breed said Nebraska students and schools have work to do to improve mathematics scores on state tests. “Their work in writing has paid off and has begun to show improvement in reading scores,” he added with the release of the scores a week ago. “Nebraska teachers have a long, successful history of helping their students meet and exceed our state’s learning goals. The mathematics standards and the state mathematics test hold the bar high to encourage students to take more rigorous math courses and four full years of mathematics at the high school level. Our goal is for Nebraska students to be college and career ready when they graduate from high school.”
Educators use the test scores to create, change, adjust and plan curriculums for students. Students in grades four, eight and 11 are tested in writing, while grades 3-through-8 and 11 are tested for reading and math.
In Thayer County, test results were also released for Bruning-Davenport, Deshler Public and Thayer Central schools.
In both reading and math, a higher percentage of Thayer Central students met or exceeded the standards than didn’t and in all age groups except the fifth and sixth grade, had more students meet or exceed the standards compared to the state percentages. While 62 percent of fifth graders in the district met or exceeded the reading standards, 70 percent met or exceeded the reading standards in the state. In sixth grade reading, 72 percent of the district’s students met or exceeded the standards compared to 74 percent across the state. In math, Thayer Central had 57 percent of its fifth grade students meet or exceed the standards, while in the state, 66 percent of fifth grade students met or exceeded the standards.
Overall, 80.14 percent of Thayer Central students who were tested met or exceeded the reading test while 72.14 percent did the same in math. Statewide, the averages were 62.82 percent in reading and 71.78 percent in math.
For Deshler Public Schools, 65.28 percent of the tested students met or exceeded the reading standards and 61.43 percent of the tested students met or exceeded the math standards.
For Bruning-Davenport, 83.71 percent of the tested students met or exceeded the reading standards, and 89.42 percent did so in math. According to Superintendent Trudy Clark, students in grades 5, 8 and 11 also piloted the new Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) test for science, but since it was a pilot, no scores were released. Students will be tested for science standards next spring.
NeSA tests are required as part of No Child Left Behind legislation.
For a closer look at how all the state’s districts fared, as well as a detailed breakdown of number of students tested and percentages of students who tested below the goal, met the goal or exceeded the goal, go to www.education.ne.gov.