Lincoln Students Getting Better Grasp On Writing Skills

Good news about elementary and high school students' writing skills. Test results show the emphasis teachers have put on writing across the state is beginning to pay off. Mrs. Mohatt has taught fourth grade for 15 years, and she says the changes in the way they're teaching writing is making a difference. Teachers now emphasize the use of powerful verbs and adjectives, helping kids better express themselves. And it's working. Statewide 80 percent of fourth graders are demonstrating proficient writing skills compared to 73 percent in 2002. Eighth graders improved from 75 to 83 percent. And high school juniors who are taking the test for the first time, tested at 87 percent proficiency.

There are numerous studies that show correlation between good writing skills and success in reading, math, science, and social studies. The results from the writing test are available by going to the Nebraska Department of Education website, you can look at scores by district, or you can even look at scores by buildings, so you can see if your teachers are making the grade.

Lincoln public schools showed mixed results with proficiency rates improving in 4th and 8th grades, but high school juniors were below the state average.