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Fergus students behind state test averages

Published 10:56am Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s students saw a slight setback in standardized test scores in math in 2013, made small gains in science and struggled with a new reading test.

Fergus Falls district students fell below the state average in each of the three test categories. 60.2 percent of Minnesota students were proficient or better in math, while the district number was 55.5 percent. 57.6 percent of state students were proficient or better in reading and 52.4 percent of were proficient or better in science. 56.6 percent of Fergus Falls students were proficient or better in reading and 49.5 percent were proficient or better in science.

The state used a new reading test this year, which the Department of Education said was more rigorous than its predecessor.

On reading tests, just a little more than half of third- through eighth-grade students and 10th-graders met or exceeded state expectations.

The Department of Education attributed that to the new reading test implemented statewide in 2013, which the agency said was more rigorous than its predecessor.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius described the new reading standards as “more challenging,” and the department said the scores reflect that.

“Anytime a new test based on new standards is given, a drop in scores is to be expected,” Cassellius said. But she said toughening academic expectations was the best way Minnesota can help prepare its students for the challenges of a changing economy.

Of the seven grade levels to take the reading test, the percentage of students that met or exceeded expectations fell in a range between 54 percent (fourth-, seventh- and eighth-graders) to 64 percent (fifth-graders).

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