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Waubun-Ogema sees big gains in grade school tests

Waubun-Ogema-White Earth School administrators will continue to focus on NWEA testing to improve students' performance on state standardized tests.

NWEA, which stands for the Northwest Evaluation Association, is a data-gathering testing program that measures students' growth over the academic year.

Waubun area students take NWEA testing once in the fall and once in the spring.

At Thursday's school board meeting, Literacy Coach and Assessment Coordinator Maggie Thompson said data shows that students who do well on NWEA tests usually score proficient on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA II).

The close correlation will help teachers identify students who need remediation, especially eighth graders entering high school, because they're not required to test in math for another two years, Thompson said.

According to the 2010 MCA test scores, 26 percent of Waubun Secondary School eighth graders scored proficient in math, while the state average was 59 percent.

In reading, 46 percent of the same group of students were proficient, while 68 percent of students statewide passed.

"We need to be monitoring those kids from the start of the year," Thompson said.

Other test results showed that 18 high school seniors still need to retake the MCA math test in order to graduate and eight will need to retake the reading test. Fourteen juniors have yet to pass the reading test that they took in 10th grade.

Retake opportunities will begin in October and will continue the first week of every month. Students must complete six weeks of remediation before retaking the tests.

Overall 2010 results showed extensive improvement in Ogema Elementary math and reading test scores, with a whopping 20 percent growth in third grade reading since last year.

Additionally, about 94 percent of third graders scored proficient in math, compared with 73 percent last year.

As a district, Waubun-Ogema-White Earth schools improved in third, fourth, and sixth grade reading and math, as well as in seventh and 10th grade reading and fifth and 11th grade math.

But students' scores dropped in fifth and eighth grade reading and seventh and eighth grade math.