This apparently, is good news in education circles, even though 1 out of 4 students in Minnesota schools can’t read well enough to pass a test.
Why is that good news? Because a year ago, only 62 percent of the kids could read well enough to pass the test.
Keep in mind, however, that we’re talking different kids here. Last year’s sophomores were this year’s juniors. Maybe it was just a bad year for reading.
But Education Commissioner Alice Seagren has a different view:
“The significant jump in this year’s Reading MCA-II scores can in large part be attributed to the fact that the graduation requirement was embedded into the MCA-II assessment, which provided extra incentive for students to take the assessment seriously,” Commissioner Seagren said.
Apparently, it’s easier to pass a test if you give a rip about graduating.
Where do these kids go wrong? And how dependable are tests to tell us? Consider this: In 2005, 8th graders in Minnesota showed 85 percent passing the reading exam. Those eighth graders were last year’s sophomores, only 62-percent of whom passed the reading test for sophomores.
As cheery as the news release’s headline sounds, the numbers behind it signal a sad reality. A lot of Minnesota kids, not far from going out on their own, can’t read well.
This year’s sophomores were 2006’s 8th graders. How did they do then? Not that great. And next year’s sophomores weren’t setting the world afire in the subject, either.
All of this comes days after a study showed Minnesota’s graduation rate for black students falling
Most of the news organizations have focused on the 71 percent overall figure.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to find a sample copy of the test so we can all see how hard — or not — passing is.