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Nevis students test above, below state average across different grade levels

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Nevis School Board members reviewed student scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment, with principal Jodi Sandmeyer stating areas of concern will continue to be addressed.

Scores, she said, are reviewed both by class and as individuals.

This year, 73.2 percent of the third grade class earned a passing grade in reading and in math, below the state averages of 78.4 and 82.1, respectively.

Fourth grade MCA passing percentage in reading was 82.5 percent, compared with 74.5 percent statewide, and 80 percent in math, compared with 74.8 percent.

Fifth grade passing percentages also exceeded state averages - 77.8 in reading (72.2 state) and 80 percent in math (65.5 percent).

Sixth graders also ranked above state averages with 75 percent passing reading (72.6) and 83.3 successfully completing the math exam, nearly 20 percent above the state average of 63.7 percent.

Seventh graders "struggled in reading and math," Sandmeyer told the board, with scores of 57.4 percent passing in reading (64.8 percent statewide) and 41.9 percent successful in math (62.6 percent).

But eighth graders, who'd scored below state average in previous years, were "in the black" with 68.9 percent of Nevis students passing in reading (66.8) and 62.2 percent successful on the math assessment (59.6 percent).

Ninth graders earned kudos with 92.3 percent passing the writing Graduation-Required Assessment for Diploma (GRAD) test. One student earned a perfect score.

Seventy-nine percent of the 10th grade class passed the reading test, compared with a statewide average of 74.2 percent.

Thirty-two percent of 11th graders passed the math test, but passing is no longer a requirement for graduation as had been originally proposed.

The school is also tracking the scores by class from year to year, watching for improvement and areas that need to be addressed.

In other action, the board:

-Approved changing school board elections to even years to correspond with statewide election dates.

In making the recommendation, superintendent Steve Rassier said new voting requirements established in 2005 make it difficult and expensive for school districts to conduct their own election, prompting the change.

"We will miss the opportunity to bring voters into the building," chair Ed Becker noted of the change in voting locations.

The decision extends to terms of board members by one year.

-Reviewed next year's testing schedule. Several GRAD retests will be offered in the fall. April's schedule includes testing for grades three through11.

-Approved cross country track as a school activity at no cost to the school. Tom Stambaugh will coach and cover expenses.

Byron Schuldt was named all state as a freshman and took third in the two-mile at state.

-Agreed fees for admission and lunch prices, with the exception of adult lunch, will remain the same as last year.

-Adopted changes to the district handbooks pending resolution of the teachers' grievance on the extended school day.

In May, the school board approved adding 22 minutes to the day.

The decision was made to alleviate scheduling conflicts with band and choir and to add high school electives.