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Area ninth-graders surpass state average on GRAD writing tests

The Minnesota Department of Education today announced that nearly 90 percent of Minnesota 9th-graders passed the Writing Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma.

Morris Area students surpassed the statewide average of 89.5 percent. Of the Morris Area students, 79 of 83 passed the Writing GRAD, which is 95.18 percent.

All 13 Chokio-Alberta students taking the test passed, and 15 of 16 students (93.75 percent) at Hancock schools passed the GRAD.

"We are pleased that Minnesota students have performed so well on the Writing GRAD," Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said.

The Writing GRAD assessment is 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, and mechanics and spelling, the assessments are graded as passing or not passing.

The Writing GRAD assessment consists of a student responding in written form to a prompt. The prompt on this year's assessment was: Think of a time 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 Minnesota 9th-graders took the Writing GRAD assessment, which replaced the writing Basic Skills Test (BST) beginning in 2007. The Writing GRAD uses the same administration and scoring procedures as the BST did during its tenure.

Students who do not pass the Writing GRAD assessment will have opportunities to retest during statewide testing windows. For more information, contact Christine Dufour at (651) 582-8720 or see the Web site www.education.state.mn.us for school and district level results.

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