State releases math, ELA assessment scores

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08/08/2013 1:19 PM |

North Fork schools

State officials released Wednesday the results of math and English Language Arts assessments that students in grades 3 through 8 took in April.

Statistics for all New York schools in which students sat for the assessments showed 69 percent of students failed math and 68.9 percent failed the ELA exam. School districts in Suffolk County generally fared better than the state overall, with 66.8 percent failing math and 63.7 percent failing ELA.

In the Greenport School District, 74.3 percent of students failed to meet the state’s math proficiency standard and 70.5 percent failed to meet the state’s ELA proficiency standard for the 2012-13 year.

In Southold, 65.2 percent failed to meet the state’s math proficiency standard and 64.4 percent failed to meet the state’s ELA proficiency standard.

Mattituck was the only school district on the North Fork to outperform both the state and county’s scores, with 59.5 percent failing math and 56.8 percent failing the ELA exam.

The Oysterponds Elementary School District, which operates a pre-K through sixth-grade program, had 50 percent of its students fail math and 65.9 percent failed ELA. The New Suffolk Elementary School District’s assessments weren’t reflected in the state’s report.

For the first time this past school year, math and ELA assessments included elements of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The common core standards are a new set of national benchmarks designed to help public school students master language arts and mathematics.

The initiative requires instructors to teach more non-fiction and rigorous math to students at a younger age.

The first group of students required to pass Common Core-aligned Regents exams for high school graduation will be the class of 2017, state officials said.

While the state Department of Education has claimed implementation of common core aims to better prepare students for college and careers for the 21st century, many parents and educators have criticized the move because they believe teachers are being forced to abandon true learning for “teaching to the test.”

The results of the new assessments are expected to be tied to the state-mandated annual professional performance review plans, known as APPR. The teacher evaluation requirement originated in 2010 after New York was awarded a grant of nearly $700 million under the federal Race to the Top program. For individual school districts to qualify for part of the grant, the state required them each to implement their own APPR program this year.

It had been expected that proficiency levels would be significantly lower compared to the 2011-12 school year and the scores “will not negatively impact district, school, principal, or teacher accountability,” State Department of Education Commissioner John King said in a statement.

“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,” Mr. King said. “I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers, and principals. It’s frustrating to see our children struggle. But we can’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration.

“We must be energized by this opportunity. 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.”

Click here for statewide results.