This is the second report on
state learning standards and it shows that nearly three of every four Nebraska
4th, 8th and 11th graders are proficient on
our mathematics standards.
That is good news for our
schools, but most importantly for our students and their future.
Last year we reported
achievement on our reading standards.
This year we present a picture of how well Nebraska students are
learning the mathematics curriculum taught in their classrooms. In the past, we
only knew how Nebraska students compared to their peers across the country on
standardized tests. Don’t misunderstand me. That information is important, and
it is important enough for us to include in this State of the Schools Report.
National comparisons, however, don’t tell us how well our students are learning
the curriculum taught in their classroom – a curriculum that is aligned to
Nebraska standards and that sets high expectations for students.
I hope you will take time to
study this report. It represents the results of a tremendous amount of hard
work going on in our schools as we raise expectations for students and report
the results of this hard work. As you
will see, our teachers and administrators – and yes, our students – have been
up to the task and exceeded our expectations.
In addition to reporting
mathematics proficiency of our students, we are also reporting how well school
districts performed in designing their systems for assessing student
achievement. The quality of these assessments is very important. Students may
score well on a test, but, if the test quality is poor, it doesn’t measure what
students are taught in their classrooms.
We also want our students to learn a quality curriculum that is based on
high standards. If not, what we teach our students has little value as we work
toward increasing student learning and improving our already good schools.
In this report each district
is rated on the quality of their assessment systems. Each district’s assessment
system is judged and rated by an independent out-of-state panel of experts.
High quality assessments coupled with high quality curriculum are the keys to
holding high expectations for teaching and learning.
We’re fortunate in Nebraska
to have a long tradition of high student achievement, but we can always be
better. School improvement is increasingly important if we want our young
people to stay competitive with their peers and at the top nationally. What
could be more important?
The State of the Schools
Report contains a wealth of information, which will give you a picture of
education at the state, school district and school building levels. Thank you
for your interest in one of the most important endeavors of our society – the
education of all students.