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Only one Douglas High School senior fails proficiency test

by Merrie Leininger

And then there was one.

All but one Douglas High School senior who needed to pass the math proficiency test to participate in graduation have done so.

District director of testing Janice Florey confirmed that after the last testing – the results of which came back last week – four seniors failed the math test. Florey said three seniors however, were already planning on coming back next year for credit reasons, so they will have other opportunities to pass the test.

Florey said the math test was the big problem again this year. All but a few special education students passed the reading test. She said if the special education students take the adjusted diploma, they are not required to pass the test.

During this last testing session, four students retook the writing test, 26 took the math test and seven students took the reading test. All passed, she said.

In addition, Florey said, the individual scores were higher this year.

The state raised the required scores for passing this year. Last year, a student had to earn a 61 on the math test to pass, this year, the passing grade was 64. Last year, a student had to get a 70 on the reading test, this year, a 71.

Florey said the district offered more help to students who needed to re-take the test this year. A developmental English class with a focus on reading was added to the curriculum. And, with the help of grant money, a Saturday school was offered six Saturdays for students who needed to retake the reading test.

Douglas High School Vice Principal Susan Baldwin said the school will continue many programs to help students pass the math proficiency.

A free summer school program will be offered at the high school for students who want to retake the test June 24. Juniors and seniors can take the class and seniors who pass the test this summer can still receive a regular high school diploma.

Baldwin said that Jill Alley has also continued the zero period class that focuses on the math test four days a week for six weeks before the test, in addition to a consumer math class that focuses on the skills required for the math test during the whole first semester.

Baldwin said more students took Integrated I math class this year, a factor in the higher numbers of successful students.

An after school program in the Plato computer lab was offered four days a week with math teacher Jim Mathews, Baldwin said. She said the students can focus on areas they had difficulties in when the took the test.

Baldwin said juniors and seniors both had three opportunities this year to take the test.

“The scores in general were a lot better than last year. I think the kids are taking the remediation opportunities sooner. A year ago, it was difficult to get the juniors to participate. I think everybody understands the seriousness. It is a high-stakes test,” Baldwin said.