LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Southern Nevada sophomores are struggling with math, and a majority of students were unable to pass the state proficiency exam this year, resulting in the lowest passing percentage in at least the past eight years.
While many are understandably concerned by the latest numbers, the district says there's an explanation. CCSD spokesperson Amanda Fulkerson attributes the drop to a new minimum pass score requirement.
"Now, we've said all along, when you raise the bar for expectations in academic achievement, you're going to see a dip in test scores while our instruction and our training catches up with it," Fulkerson said.
Until this year, a score of only 48-percent was enough to pass the proficiency exam. Now, a score of 60-percent is needed. As a result, of the 22,000 sophomores in the district, about 15,000 failed the proficiency – more than two-thirds.
Sam Kwak, a math tutor with Vegastutors.com, believes adequate math instruction at an early age could make all the difference. He adds that large class sizes and limited one-on-one instruction will also hinder a student's advancement.
"Early on, if they didn't get the good mathematical foundation, it will catch up to them and it will show up in their scores,” Kwak said.
“We know that Nevada students can pass this test, and we want to ensure that our students here in Nevada are graduating with the same skills, and can compete nationally with the students in other states," said Fulkerson.
District leaders acknowledge scores aren't where they need to be right now, but say it is a work in progress, and eventually the numbers will add up.