Most schools in Southold Town performed below average proficiency levels for Suffolk County on the English Language Arts and math assessments given in April and May, according to state data.
Countywide, roughly 44% of students in grades 3 through 8 who took the math exam were rated proficient, meaning they scored a level 3 or better. Proficiency in the ELA test was achieved by about 42% of Suffolk students tested, according to the New York State Education Department.
On the North Fork, proficiency among students in the Greenport school district was below county averages, at about 31% for math and 25% for ELA.
Students also performed below county averages in the Southold school district, where approximately 37% met the state’s math and ELA standards. Compared to last year, that represents an improvement in math skills and a 1% decrease in ELA skills.
Mattituck-Cutchogue was the only local school district where students exceeded county averages in both areas. There, Level 3 or better was achieved by approximately 51% on the ELA test and 58% in the math; however, proficiency in both categories was lower than last year.
Performance in the Oysterponds School District, which operates a pre-K through sixth-grade program, was mixed. Student proficiency in ELA rose from 47% last year to 60% this year, surpassing county results. In math, however, proficiency was 38%, falling below both county averages and the district’s 47% proficiency level for 2018.
However, none of the reported results cited the ever-expanding opt-out movement, which has gained support in recent years, especially on Long Island.
Southold and Greenport joint Superintendent David Gamberg has previously criticized state regulations and remains an advocate of the opt-out movement.
Mr. Gamberg said in an email that in his 33 years working in education, a successful education system begins at the end: any measurement in kindergarten or primary education should be aligned to achieve longterm goals, he said. He added that opting out of state exams is a symptom of a larger problem.
“We … must ask why is this happening and what must we do to affect a positive change in the education system in New York,” he said. “Whatever the ‘opt-out’ number is, it is not a good sign that the system is working well.”
In Southold, 47% of eligible students opted out of the most recent ELA test. In neighboring Greenport, 71% of students opted out. Opt-out numbers for the math assessment in Greenport and Southold were not immediately available.
Mattituck Superintendent Jill Gierasch said in an email that before the district administered the math exam in Mattituck, administrators sent home a letter encouraging parents to have their child participate in the standardized testing process.
Prior to receiving the ELA results this spring, teachers and administrators had been working to “identify gaps in the delivery of our literacy curriculum.” District administrators had partnered with literacy consultants to develop lessons for the 2019-20 academic year.
For math, she said, teachers in grades K-8 spent the summer reviewing state standards. As a result, student expectations were more clearly defined, local curriculum was modified and quarterly goals were established, she said.
Oysterponds Superintendent Richard Malone was not immediately available for comment.
NYSED data showed 948,606 students took the math exam this year. Of those students, 47% met the state’s proficiency standard. Approximately 987,398 students took the ELA exam. 45% of those students were proficient.
According to state information, the ELA and math assessments measure the higher learning standards that were adopted by the State Board of Regents in 2010.