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      Nebraska Department of Education Releases State of Schools Report

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      Areport on Nebraska public schools and student performance was released Wednesdayduring a news conference in Lincoln.

      TheState of the Schools Report highlights the performance of groups of students onstate reading, mathematics and writing tests as well as science. The NebraskaState Accountability test results for all students were released earlier.

      Parents received reports on the progress of their children earlier from theirschool district.

      Thisreport includes performance for groups of students, including race andethnicity, poverty, special education and English Language Learners by districtand school building, as well as a new Cohort Four-Year Graduation Rate.

      Overall,73 percent of the students tested in grades 3-8 and 11 met or exceeded statereading standards, an improvement over last year when 69 percent wereproficient. The first mathematics test results showed that 63 percent wereproficient.

      EducationCommissioner Roger Breed said he expects mathematics scores to improve infuture years since that has been the trend historically in other academicareas, including reading.

      Inwriting, 89 percent of the fourth graders were proficient and 90 percent of theeighth graders. Science results ranged from 96 percent proficient at the fourthgrade to 87 percent proficient at the eighth grade. Schools will administer anew science test next year.

      TheCohort Four-Year Graduation Rate showed that 85 percent of Nebraska high schoolseniors graduated in 2010-11. This rate looks only at students who havegraduated in four years or less.

      Breedencouraged schools to study their data -- including the performance of groups ofstudents -- to identify instructional strategies that help all students performat higher levels.

      Studentswho are learning English for the first time in school, students withdisabilities and migrant students oftentimes have greater challenges in theclassroom. Overall, there continues to be gaps in the scores of Hispanicstudents and black students when compared to the scores of white students.

      Teachersand students are working hard to help all students meet state academicstandards, Breed said, noting his frequent visits to Nebraska schools. "Nebraskateachers are helping our students reach higher levels of learning every day,"Breed said.

      Breedencouraged parents and Nebraska residents to study the report to learn how theschools and students in their community are performing and how they can supporttheir efforts.

      TheState of the Schools Report is available on the Nebraska Department ofEducation's homepage at: www.education.ne.gov.

      Courtesy: Nebraska Department of Education

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