Nevada students to be graded with new scoring system
CARSON CITY (AP) — A new test scoring system will be used this spring to help determine whether Nevada’s third- and fifth-graders are adequately learning reading and math.
The system adopted by the state Board of Education won’t be used to determine whether students are promoted to the next grade.
It’s the beginning of the state’s effort to align itself with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which requires states to measure student performance and schools to improve yearly.
Keith Rheault, deputy state superintendent of public instruction, said the grading system will be used to judge whether schools are performing below standard and qualify for state and federal aid.
Applying the new scoring system to the tests taken last spring, about half of the students performed below the state’s standard. That’s similar to a national pattern.
Rheault said schools had been judged below standard based on the national TerraNova tests that compares Nevada with other states. Now the scores will be based on the curriculum established in Nevada.
The TerraNova system determined whether schools were “low performing.” Schools where more than 40 percent of the students finished in the bottom quarter in all subjects on a basic skills test were judged in need of improvement.
The new scoring system says third-graders must correctly answer 28 of 40 reading questions on the state test to meet the standard. Similar cutoffs were set for math.
The number of correct answers needed to get a standard grade or above may fluctuate in the future, depending on the difficulty of the test and the number of questions, said Paul LaMarca, director of testing and assessment for the state education department.
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