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High school students in Marshall Islands struggle to get into college courses

MAJURO — Only two high school seniors out of 596 who took the annual College of the Marshall Islands placement test for mathematics scored high enough to directly enter credit level courses at the college. The number, significantly down from the previous year, confirms the ongoing challenge Marshall Islands grade school students have with math.

Students performed better in English, with 10 percent — 60 — out of 597 test-takers who took the English section of the examination testing into credit level. The results were released Friday.

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The good news in math, however, is that many more students than in 2016 tested at higher development levels, meaning they likely will spend less time in remedial courses before being able to take credit level classes at the Majuro-based college.

“Consistently, more students place in the credit levels in English than they do in math,” said CMI President Dr. Theresa Koroivulaono. “While the placement results for math credit level were extremely low in 2017, almost 45 percent more students placed in level two math than they did in level one. This trend is in direct opposition to the trend in 2016 where over four times more students placed in (the lowest) level one math than in level two.”

Last year, 466 out of 673 test-takers scored in the lowest development section for math, “level one.” This year, the number in the lowest level declined to 152, as 342 students made it to level two and 100 to level three (the final stage of the remedial program before credit). These last two numbers compare favorably to the 159 students who tests at level two and three in 2016.

In 2016, 48 high school seniors tested high enough to take credit level math. Why the number plunged to only two in this year’s college placement test is not known. The government’s Public School System, with substantial aid from Japan International Cooperation Agency teachers, has focused on improving math performance at the elementary and high school level in recent years.

Of the 597 high school seniors who took the recent English test, 89 “did not place” in English, meaning their results were too low to attend even development levels. According to CMI, all test-takers in math placed either in development or credit.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/regional-news/96347-high-school-students-in-marshall-islands-struggle-to-get-into-college-courses

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