State writing test scores show improvement - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

State writing test scores show improvement

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By: Brittany Paris

Three grades, three weeks of testing, 64,000 students. The state's writing test results are in, result the state board of education says are better than ever.

The writing tests are given to 4th, 8th and 11th graders each year.

68 percent of 4th graders met or exceeded expectations this year, 66 percent in 8th grade and 68 percent in 11th grade.

Nebraska Education Commissioner, Roger Breed, says he's not surprised by the high scores.

"We're doing a lot more writing in school at an earlier level than we ever have before," Breed said. "And good writers are generally created by practicing writing."

The state saw growth, too.

The 4th grade scoring process was more rigorous this year so results aren't available to compare, but a measurable increase could be seen in the upper grades who switched to the more difficult scoring last year.

8th graders improved two percent and 11th graders improved six percent over 2012.

"Now we've raised the bar," Breed said. "So it's starting that process again and we expect teachers and students to continue to improve those results over the next four to five years."

Breed says despite the increase, there's always room for improvement. And there are always more student who can benefit from growing their writing skills.

"I don't think we've found anyone in society that hasn't said you haven't got to have the ability to communicate," Breed said. "Not only verbally with the spoken word, but with writing."

These scores are just preliminary, though much change isn't expected. Information based on race, ethnicity and other student group data will be released in the fall.

You can check all the scores out for yourself at

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