Fifth graders improve reading scores on test

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/14/00.

Reading scores for Paynesville's fifth graders improved a great deal this year on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests.

This class of fifth graders was the first group to take the assessment tests as third graders. Danith Clausen, the curriculum coordinator for the Paynesville Area School District, credited the accelerated reading program with much of the improvement in reading scores. "This class of fifth graders is the first group to use the accelerated reading program," she said.

The fifth graders scores improved 26 points in math from the first time they took the test as third graders and 78 points in reading, going from 1446 to 1524.

The fifth graders reading score was above the state average of 1483. The fifth graders scored 58 points higher than last year's class in the math and were 77 points higher in reading.

Scores from Paynesville third graders dropped 43 points in math and 25 points in reading. Both scores were below the state average this year. (See chart).

According to Clausen, students don't need to pass the Minnesota Compre-hensive Assessment tests. The tests are used as a tool to see what skill level the students are at and how the district might need to change its curriculum to meet the student's needs.

"I'm not concerned about the third graders because by the time they reach the fifth grade we see the skills are there," she said.

The third grade scores have varied from one year to the next the last three years. Clausen was puzzled by the differences and plans to meet with the teachers next fall to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the class.

"We need to see if there is a trend," she added. "Each class of kids has their own personality and strengths." Clausen thought this class might need some extra individual help. They will also review to see if any curriculum changes are needed.

The tests were given in early March. The Minnesota Comprehensive Assess-ment results were released by the Department of Children, Families, and Learning last week.

The math tests are broken into shape and space, measurement, number sense, chance and data, problem solving, and procedures and concepts. The reading portion of the test is based on literal comprehension and interpretation.

The fifth grade writing test includes: descriptive, narrative, problem solving, and clarification.

Paynesville had two third graders in the highest possible scoring level for math and four in reading. The fifth graders had nine students in highest level in the math; 16 in reading, and two on the writing test.

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment scores
Grade 3

Math: 97-98: 1447  98-99: 1470   99-00: 1427   State Avg: 1478
Reading: 97-98: 1446   98-99: 1465   99-00: 1440  State Avg: 1461

Grade 5
Math: 97-98: 1390   98-99: 1396 99-00: 1473   State Avg: 1470
Reading: 97-98: 1434   98-99: 1466   99-00: 1524   State Avg: 1493

Descriptive: 97-98: 1413   98-99: 1437   99-00: 1558   State Avg: 1498
Narrative: 97-98: 1339   98-99: 1558   99-00: 1418   State Avg: 1413
Problem solving: 97-98: 1525   98-99: 1477   99-00: 1396   State Avg: 1478
Clarification:97-98: 1404   98-99: 1493   99-00: 1491   State Avg: 1408

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