Friday, April 4, 2008

NO CHILD LAW HASN'T IMPROVED WRITING

NY TIMES About a third of the nation's eighth-grade students, and roughly a quarter of its high school seniors, are proficient writers, according to nationwide test results. That proportion of students demonstrating writing proficiency is about the same as in 2002, when a similar exam was last given.

But the results of the latest test, administered last year, also found modest increases in the skills of lower-performing students. Nearly 9 students in 10 can now demonstrate at least a basic achievement in writing, defined as partial mastery of the skills needed for proficient work. As in the past, girls outperformed boys by far, most decisively at the eighth-grade level, where 41 percent of them achieved proficiency, compared with 20 percent of boys. The racial achievement gap narrowed slightly, with black and Hispanic students' writing improving a bit more than did whites'. . . That a third of the nation's eighth graders can write with proficiency may not sound like much, but it is the best performance by eighth-grade students in any subject tested in the national assessment in the last three years. Only 17 percent of eighth graders were proficient on the 2006 history exam, for example.

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