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Low Test Scores Expected

At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, Farmingdale Superintendent of Schools John Lorentz addressed parents’ concerns over low student testing scores in recent New York State assessments. According to Lorentz, the results for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math in grades 3-8 placed the district in the bottom quartile of Nassau County.

However, Lorentz was quick to point out that the lower scores were to be expected, and in fact were experienced by school districts across Long Island; this, he said, was brought about by new, stricter testing in alignment with the state-mandated adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards and not enough time to prepare adequately for them.

“We were disappointed with out results, and we know we have some work to do,” he said. “However, all schools across the state were told that the standards would be raised and that we should expect to see a significant decrease in scores; however, this was the result of not allowing enough time for teachers and school districts to get fully acquainted with and trained in the newly-introduced curriculum by the state in the form of the Common Core Standards.”

Lorentz said that the new educational standards being thrust upon schools in New York will be dealt with as an ongoing learning process for both students and staff.

“This is not a true reflection of what our students and teachers have accomplished over the course of the school year,” he said. “We should use the results to make adjustments and improve. The state has created a new benchmark, and it’s something for us to work with, and it will be data that we ill incorporate in order to give our students the best opportunities we can.”

The Board of Education also was set to set the Tax Levy for the 2013-14 school year at Wednesday’s meeting; however, according to Assistant Superintendent Paul Defendini, the unique geographical situation that Farmingdale finds itself in necessitated a slight delay in doing so.

“The process of setting the Levy in Farmingdale is a little more complicated than it is in other taxing entities,” he said. “We have two different taxing jurisdictions...we have Nassau County and the Town of Babylon. In order to divide the total Levy of the school district between the two taxing entities, I need a variety of information. I have set values, but what I don’t have are the equalization rates, which are used to tie two different assessing practices together.”

Defendini stated that the state has not yet provided him with the equalization rate information he needs at this time, but that he expects them to do so within a week’s time. As the Tax Levy is due on approximately September 14, Defendini said he will have it available before the next Board of Education meeting.

“I will give an update as soon as I have any information,” he said.