Written by Jill Nossa Saturday, 17 August 2013 00:00
Last week, the New York State Education Department released the results of this year’s math and English language arts (ELA) assessments, revealing disappointing results as districts across the state reported lower than average scores.
This year’s state assessments were the first for New York students to measure the Common Core Learning Standards for grades 3-8. Across the state, 31 percent of students met or exceeded the proficiency standards in both English and math.
For the Glen Cove City School District, numbers were even lower, in the 20 percent range.
“There really isn’t anything that can adequately prepare you for the dramatic drop in student scores that were announced last week,” says Donna Brady, president of the Glen Cove
Board of Education. “It’s alarming to discover that statewide, less than one third of our children meet or exceed the new ‘Common Core’ proficiency standards in math and in
English Language Arts (ELA), according to this year’s state assessment tests. Last year, before the tests had been adapted to reflect Common Core Standards, the state proficiency averages were 55.1 percent for ELA and 64.8 percent for math. Still disappointing, but this year’s drop is shocking. And the state is reassuring us not to be too alarmed; that student achievement hasn’t gone down, rather the standards have gone up.”
This is the first year the Common Core Learning Standards have been rolled out to school districts in 45 states. New York was the second state (behind Kentucky) to adopt the new standards, which focus on advanced reading, vocabulary, and math application. The Common Core assessments also swap filling in bubbles with much more analytical and creative problem-solving.
State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. says that the standards are meant to better equip students for the future.
“We are making this change to the Common Core state standards because we want every single one of our students to be on track for college and careers by the time they graduate from high school,” King said in a letter on the State Education Department website. “Our former standards did not prepare all of our students for 21st century college and careers.”
“Right or wrong, our state’s measurement tool for student success is not going away,” says Brady. “And Glen Cove has far to go. Right now, we are behind state averages in both
Math and ELA, on all grade levels. According to this year’s state analysis, only 22.3 percent of our kids are proficient in ELA according to the new Common Core standards. Only 20 percent of our kids have achieved proficiency in math. The challenge is here and our mission is clear. We have to turn the tide. We will be working very hard this year to support our new superintendent, our superintendent of curriculum and instruction, and all the administrative teams to ensure that our teachers really have the practical support they need to lead our children forward in a time when standards continue to change. The real challenge is growing a culture of curiosity in our classrooms. Developing a climate that believes learning is interesting, and not simply a stack of facts needed to pass a test. With diligence and commitment, we move forward. Our kids need it, and they’re worth it.”