Ninth graders on right pathA report released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) this week shows that nearly 90 percent of Minnesota 9th graders passed the writing portion of the Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD).
By: By Celeste Beam, Staff Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
A report released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) this week shows that nearly 90 percent of Minnesota 9th graders passed the writing portion of the Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD).
Ninth grade students at Discovery Middle School (DMS) in Alexandria surpassed the state average with 91.75 percent passing the writing GRAD.
Out of the 315 students that took the test on April 8, 289 DMS students passed.
Julie Critz, District 206 director of teaching and learning, said the district noticed a slight dip in scores from the previous year. However, since this is a test that has only been administered for two years, the district will continue to monitor the trend and make adjustments as needed over time.
“District 206 students continue to score above the state average on the writing GRAD test. We are proud of the teachers for their hard work in preparing students throughout the years for this graduation test,” she said. “Our students’ performance continues to be above par for, which we are extremely proud.”
Other 9th grade students in the area also performed well on the test, including the school districts of Brandon, Evansville, Osakis, Parkers Prairie and West Central Area.
There were 20 9th grade students in the Brandon School District that took the test with 19 of them passing or 95 percent.
In the Evansville School District, 13 9th grade students took the writing GRAD and every one of them passed.
The Osakis School District had nearly 95 percent of its 9th graders pass the test – 51 out of 54 students passed, which resulted in 94.44 percent.
Nearly 76 percent of Parkers Prairie 9th grade students passed the writing exam. There were 54 students who took the test and 41 of them passed – 75.93 percent.
Of the 61 West Central Area 9th graders who took the GRAD writing test, 58 – or 95.08 percent – passed.
Statewide statistics show that more than 64,000 9th grade students took the test with 89.48 percent passing.
“We are pleased that Minnesota students have performed so well on the writing GRAD,” said Alice Seagren, MDE commissioner. “We hope this assessment provides educators with a starting point for improving every student’s writing skills.”
The writing GRAD, according to an MDE news release, was designed to measure whether or not a student has attained basic writing skills before graduation.
Those skills include the ability to formulate and communicate a written message in English to an adult reader. Taking into account several factors, including composition, style, sentence formation, grammar as well as mechanics and spelling, the assessments are graded as passing or not passing.
The writing GRAD assessment consists of students responding in written form to a prompt. The prompt on this year’s test was:
“Think of a time when you did something to help someone else. Explain why you chose to help and how the experience made you feel. Include details so that your reader will understand your actions and feelings.”
This is the second year that 9th graders around the state took the GRAD writing test, which replaced the writing Basic Skills Test.
Students who do not pass the test will have opportunities to retest during statewide testing windows.