Students test above national average

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— Last April, Moffat County School District students in grades two, three, six and nine took a new type of standardized test. The TerraNova test was introduced last spring and the results are in.

"The results are better than we anticipated because we switched to a much harder test," said Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, Janet Bohart.

According to Bohart, the TerraNova test has the same types of questions as the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP). The two tests, made by the same company, are much more difficult than previous California Achievement Tests.

"There are a lot of essay questions," Bohart said. "Students need to explain their thinking."

In the past, all students needed to do was fill in ovals. With the new test, essay questions require students to gain full knowledge of the question before answering. Even the reading sections required students to answer in paragraph format.

Second grade students placed highest of all grade levels in the district. With 200 students tested in reading, vocabulary, reading composite and word analysis, they scored an average of 65.75 (this number represents the median national percentile (MDNP)). Out of all second-graders tested, Moffat County second-graders were in the 65.75 percentile, meaning they scored better than 65.75 percent of all second grade classrooms in the nation).

The lowest category of scoring was third grade spelling. The third grade MDNP was at 45.3. The highest score also belonged to the third grade. In the category of math computation, they scored a 69.8.

All grade levels had different test layouts with varying degrees of difficulty but all had basically the same categories. With the exception of math for the second grade, all other grade levels were tested in various areas of math, reading and language.

The third grade, with 197 students, scored an average MDNP of 57.09. The 201 sixth-graders averaged 56.13 while the 193 ninth-graders averaged 60.2.

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