Today was the release of the Nebraska State Assessment scores for reading (language arts), math and science.

Lincoln Public Schools scored well, at or above the rest of the states in all three categories.

English scores were down across the state, but that was due to a new assessment test being implemented this year by the Nebraska Department of Education which changed the assessment to meet state standards.

"The goal is for them to be proficient, to meet state standards but to also have a really good level of skill when they get to the age where they graduate and take off for new opportunities", said Jane Stavem, who is the Associate Superintendent for Lincoln Public Schools.

New state standards are more rigorous than prior standards. The test itself requires more analytical thinking and the ability to utilize different computer skills.

Overall, 57 percent of LPS students were proficient on the new reading and writing tests, compared to 51 percent statewide, both significant drops from reading and writing proficiency levels last year.

LPS was 6 percentage points above the state average for reading standards, 3 percent for math and there was no change in science.

"When we look across all of our scores almost every score is either at or above the state average. That's an indicator for us in terms of how we are doing. There is always room for growth but we feel really confident that our students are doing well," said Stavem.

Two LPS high schools leading the way are Lincoln East and Southwest.

Both schools outpaced LPS averages and state averages in all three categories.

As for graduation rates, LPS currently has a rate of 85%, about the same as last year. 

The LPS goal is to have graduation rates rise up to 90% in the future.

Graduation requirements have also been tweaked due to a district level decision.

The new requirements will have high school students taking 245 credit hours before graduating instead of the usual 230.

These steps were made to better prepare the students for college.