Nebraska's standardized test scores down with new benchmarks - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Nebraska's standardized test scores down with new benchmarks

State and ACT tests results in Nebraska are down, but it may not be as bad as it sounds.

That's because the benchmarks for average scores have been raised

Students in 3rd through 8th grade took the NeSA Exam and students in 11th grade took the ACT, both tests are used to measure how prepared students are for college.

Nebraska Dept. of Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt said the results for both tests came back lower than expected.

"We have a higher percentage of students in the lower category than we have in the past," said Blomstedt.

Only half of students in 3rd through 8th grade showed proficiency in the areas of English, math and science. Of the students who took the ACT less than half of students met the minimum ACT benchmark.

Despite the low test scores Blomstedt says not to worry.

"We set an expectation that was higher and we ended up having students that weren't yet at the new higher benchmark for college and career readiness," says Blomstedt.

The baseline for testing was raised in an effort to keep students in Nebraska competitive with students across the country.

Blomstedt expects to see test scores for both the NeSA and the ACT to go up, but says it will take time.

Blomstedt says, "Once the assessment has been in place for a while we expect to see growth because teachers and schools align their practices to meet those expectations."

He is encouraging teachers and parents to talk with student about working on areas where they tested poorly, so students can improve and raise their test scores.

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