Written by Michael Scro, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 15 August 2013 00:00
Long Island students in grades three through eight saw their New York State test scores plummet by 40 percent compared to last year, but education administrators are telling parents not to fret because this year doesn’t compare to last year.
Instead, the scores create a new benchmark for measuring student performance going forward. This test was the first based on the “common core learning standards,” developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices in conjunction with state education officers, and voluntarily adopted by the NYS Board of Regents in 2010.
“The world has changed, the economy has changed, and what our students need to know has changed,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “These scores reflect a new baseline and a new beginning.” The first cohort of students required to pass Common Core-aligned Regents exams for high school graduation will be the class of 2017.
Because the common core standards are more rigorous, the drop in scores was not unexpected. Earlier this month, King sent a memo to school district superintendents, urging them to use the new scores judiciously when assessing teachers and students. The state education department is providing guidance for districts to ensure that students are not negatively impacted by the low scores.
“These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century,” King said. “The results we’ve announced today are not a critique of past efforts; they’re a new starting point on a roadmap to future success.”
The Plainview-Old Bethpage School District scored an average 54 percent proficient in both ELA and math, the percentage of students deemed proficient is “significantly lower” than in 2011-12. The district began incorporating the common core in the 2012-2013 school year, according to Superintendent Lorna Lewis.
“During the year, our students and staff worked diligently to implement a curriculum aligned to the new expectations,” Lewis said. “We are confident that the new skills acquired will prepare them well for the future challenges.”
In the last run of the previous test, just 20 percent of Plainview-Old Bethpage students in grades three through eight did not meet proficiency standards. On the 2013 test, that rate rose to 46 percent. In math, the rate of students deemed not proficient jumped from 11 percent in 2012 to 46 percent in 2013. (See accompanying tables for proficiency rates by grade.)
Lewis said that the district is notifying the parents of all students who scored below proficiency, and making scheduling adjustments to provide academic support. She recently proposed hiring two new teachers to provide remedial help, one in English and one in math, at an annual cost of $150,000. Currently, the district has 18 such teachers on staff.
“We take great pride in the quality of education we provide to all students in our school district,” Lewis said. She went on to note that there are other measures of student and school performance which offer valid comparison to the past, and which show the district doing well. “This summer, we received our Advanced Placement results, a national assessment used by colleges as a benchmark for college readiness,” she said, “and our student performance was the best we have ever seen.”
Plainview-Old Bethpage School District
State Test Proficiency Rates
G3 61.1 percent
G4 47.3 percent
G5 47.7 percent
G6 55.9 percent
G7 51.6 percent
G8 61.7 percent
G3 66.7 percent
G4 64.9 percent
G5 44.3 percent
G6 48.9 percent
G7 45.3 percent
G8 52.2 percent
Source: New York State Education Department
The Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald will continue coverage of the district’s response following the school board meeting on Monday, August 12.