Local News

Eighth-Grade Writing Scores Drop

Posted April 3, 2008 11:49 a.m. EDT

Education

— Scores posted by North Carolina eighth-graders on a national writing test dropped last year but remained on par with the national average, according to results released Thursday.

Students posted a 153 average on the scale used by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called "the nation's report card" because it's the only test used in common across the country. The national average was 154.

The last time the test was administered, in 2002, the state average was 157.

Students taking the writing test are given two 25-minute writing tasks, and students' essays are evaluated as first drafts. A sample of students in each participating state takes the assessment, so no district or school-level results are available.

The test results showed high-achieving North Carolina students lost ground between 2002 and last year, while students scoring at or below average maintained their performance level.

"We know that local educators are very focused on getting more students to the minimum grade level or proficient level, and that is a very worthwhile goal," State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a statement. "At the same time, I am concerned that students who already have solid test scores may not be getting the extra push they need."