More students pass reading testST. PAUL — New test results show that three out of four high school sophomores over the past year met the reading requirements needed for graduation.
By: Scott Wente, The Republican Eagle
ST. PAUL — New test results show that three out of four high school sophomores over the past year met the reading requirements needed for graduation.
The Minnesota Department of Education said an average of 75 percent of 10th-graders passed the reading test, and the exam yielded improvements over last year even though it was tougher.
Results released Monday also show that while more students are passing the test, racial and economic achievement gaps remain.
More than 65,000 students took the exam earlier this year.
The department has not yet released data showing district results, but said schools can start helping students who did not pass to study for a second attempt.
Education officials made the exam more rigorous for 2008. Results show that on average students in eight different groups scored higher on the test, which includes grammar and reading comprehension, than did sophomores in 2007.
“When students start to take the test seriously, their test scores improve,” Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said. “We hope that these scores will continue to improve.”
While the statewide average proficiency was 75 percent, there were disparities. White students scored the highest, with an 82 percent pass rate, but less than half of Hispanic and black students met the benchmark.
Students from low-income families also scored below the state average, with only 54 percent meeting the requirement. Fifty-five percent of American Indian students passed.
“The achievement gap is something that’s persisted for a number of years, so this is not a surprise that we have disparities between all students and subgroups of students,” Seagren said.
Reading proficiency is part of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, which are used to show student achievement and school progress toward federal No Child Left Behind goals.
Students can meet the reading graduation benchmark either by passing the assessment itself or by correctly answering specific questions.