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NLS students surpassing state expectations in reading, but not in math

NEW LONDON -- Results from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments-Series II (MCA-II) tests were presented to the New London-Spicer School Board Monday during its regular meeting.

According to the test results, NLS students are meeting or exceeding standards in reading at a higher level than the state average. However, the students are only average in mathematics.

NLS principals Kevin Acquard, Trish Hall and Sonya Peterson each explained the results for their respective grade levels to the School Board during Monday's meeting.

MCA-II tests are required state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota's academic standards, according to the Minnesota Department of Educations Web site. The tests are administered to students in grades three through eight, 10 and 11 in the spring semester of the school year.

The results are separated into four categories, in which the students: does not meet testing standards, partially meets testing standards, meets testing standards and exceeds testing standards.

According to the 2008 reading test results, NLS students are above most grade-level state averages for meeting or exceeding the standards. The district also has a lower percentage of students compared to the state average that do not meet or partially meet the standards.

Based on the 2008 math results, NLS students were comparable to the state average for meeting standards, but percentages declined in exceeding the standards.

Acquard said high school principals across the state are concerned by the declining percentages in mathematics. According to a mandate enacted by the state Department of Education, all eighth-grade students are expected to complete Algebra I, starting with the 2010-11 school year.

Peterson said she was worried about the progress of the district's third-graders in mathematics. According to the 2007 and 2008 results, NLS third-grade students are not exceeding the mathematics standard, as both years yielded Algebra l percentages at least 5 percent lower than the state average.

The district's first testing of state science standards were also presented Monday. Similar to the state averages, the district's percentages in all four categories were low. Unlike reading and math, the science standards are not counted toward graduation.