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College prep test participation up

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More School District 833 high school students are taking ACT tests, which measure students' readiness for college in biology, algebra, socials studies and English.

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In the class of 2011, 888 of 1,254 seniors took ACTs, just slightly above the state average participation of 71 percent, a "positive trend," Rick Spicuzza, assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment, told the School Board last week.

The district ranks 12th in the state based on 2010-11 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment III math scores, he said, not counting districts with less than 100 students participating.

Woodbury High School ranks third in the state and East Ridge High School ranks six.

Park High School scores were on par with the state average.

In MCA reading tests, given in 10th-grade, the district ranks 13th in the state.

Woodbury ranks seventh in reading and East Ridge 17. Park, not in the top rankings, is still six percent about the state average.

The achievement gap between students of color and white students has closed by 10 percent, with the district doing better than the state average, Spicuzza said.

In recent years, a gap developed between grades 4 and 7 in reading, with girls scoring significantly higher. That gap is also closing, Spicuzza said.

He said 98 percent of the class of 2012 has passed the 10th-grade writing test, a standard needed to graduate, with 180 students yet to complete the reading test, which they can take every other month until they pass.

The 400 students who have yet to pass the 11th-grade math test can take the test in months alternating with the reading test. If they still don't pass, they must take a math class with two subsequent chances to take the math test again. If they don't pass, they can still graduate.

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Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600
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