ST. PAUL (AP) -- Roughly 3 percent of the state's high school seniors are in danger of not graduating this spring because they have not passed all three Basic Standards Tests, a higher rate than last year.
The preliminary test figures the Department of Children, Families and Learning released Tuesday show the number of seniors -- out of 67,000 statewide -- who are running out of chances to pass the math, reading and writing tests.
In math, 2,400 seniors have yet to pass -- up 140 percent from last year. In reading, 1,550 still need to pass -- up 540 percent from last year. And in writing, a graduation requirement for the first time, 2,000 have performed below a required level.
The increases follow several state moves to boost expectations. Besides the writing test requirement, students must get higher passing scores on the reading and math exams.
Local school officials say the tougher demands have caused a marked increase in the number of students participating in special classes and after-school programs aimed at boosting scores. But state education department officials said it's still too early to draw many conclusions from the new figures.
"It's an increase, but I don't know if we will consider it a significant increase after looking at all of the factors," said Jessie Montano, a CFL assistant commissioner.
Members of the class of 2000, the first in Minnesota required to take graduation exams, had to pass the math and reading tests with a score of 70 percent correct. This year's seniors have to score a 75 percent on those tests.
Next week, seniors have their last chance to retake the Basic Standards Tests before spring graduation.
Based on last year's experience, many of the students probably will be taking part in graduation ceremonies with their classmates.
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