I’ve written in the past that school test results often seem to be described in overly rosy terms.
The headline of the Minnesota grad standards test results today seems like one such occasion: Latest school test scores show improvements
The reality? Only 57 percent of Minnesota 11th graders who took the math test passed. And fewer than half are proficient in math.
“Like last year’s reading results, this year’s math results are another clear indication that if we raise expectations, more of our students will accept the challenge and meet those expectations,” Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said in her news release.
Eight percent more, perhaps. That’s the increase from last year in the percentage of 11th graders declared “proficient” in math. And that number is only 3 percent for black students.
This year was the first year the tests were supposed to determine whether a student would graduate, and we were told the results would be better because the tests “matter” this year. Wouldn’t we have expected a bigger improvement if the previous scores were blamed on students not taking the test seriously?
But improvement is often in the eye of the beholder. Here are some tables from the department’s press release. You decide.
You may recall that “proficiency” wasn’t determined until after officials saw how well — or how poorly — the students did.
And most officials in politicians figured they would do poorly. So they removed the test results as a grad requirement.
What headline would you write about these scores?