A more rigorous test has resulted in lower scores for 8th and 11th Grade Nebraska students on the statewide standardized writing test.
Nebraska Education Commissioner Roger Breed says the new standards reflect changing demands in the work place.
“We’ve tried to create a realistic writing experience, one that was asked for by businesses and our communities, that is an expression of how kids are going to be expected to write in the future,” according to Breed, “because it is going to be an online writing and on-demand kind of a situation.”
About 63% of Nebraska’s 8th Grade students met or exceeded the new writing standards; 62% of the 11th Grade students.
Breed said he understands some students might feel the switch is a bit unfair.
“You know, if I was a race horse, they just lengthened the race. If I was a hurdler, they just raised the hurdle. If I was a pole-vaulter, they just raised the bar,” Breed stated during a news conference at the Nebraska State Department of Education offices in Lincoln.
The 8th and 11th Grade students took their test online, which will become normal practice for all standardized tests beginning next year.
While some schools scored higher than others, the test results do not indicate wide differences in results in the various regions of the state, according to Breed.
Breed said he hopes to see improvement in the next few years as students adjust to the new standards.
“Gradual and steady,” Breed replied when asked what kind of improvement he would like to see. “I think that’s a realistic (expectation). We don’t look for marked, drastic improvement where all of the sudden we go from 63% to 92%. While I would love for that to happen, I would have to think there is something out of bounds if that happens.”
Nearly all 4th Grade students, 92%, met or exceeded standards under the old scoring method.
For complete test results, go to the Nebraska Department of Education homepage by clicking here.
AUDIO: Nebraska Education Commissioner Roger Breed released standards writing test scores. [5:30]