Monday, April 28, 2008

U.S. among most Bible-literate nations

Go to Reuters original
Americans are among the world's most 'Bible-literate' people and Spaniards, French and Italians are among the most ignorant about what the "good book" says, according to a new study released on Monday.

A poll carried out in nine countries -- the United States, Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Spain and Poland.


Only one-third of American students 'Proficient' in writing skills
“American students’ writing skills are deteriorating”

Go to New York Times original
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 released Thursday.

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’.

The results for eighth graders, though not for seniors, were broken down by states, the top performers of which were New Jersey, where 56 percent of students scored at or above proficiency levels, and Connecticut, where the number was 53 percent. Nineteen states ranked above New York, where it was 31 percent.

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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