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Test scores show drop in achievement statewide, but Cazenovia stays high

— In Cazenovia, a district which has typically seen its state assessment scores range above average, this year was no different. While the state averages were 31 and 31.1 percent in math and ELA respectively, in the Cazenovia district the scores were 52.3 percent for math and 56.3 percent for ELA.

“Our scores did go down [from last year], but it’s not really fair to say they are down because you can’t really compare them to the past since the curriculum has been realigned,” said Cazenovia School District Superintendent Bob Dubik. “This is now the baseline and from here we move up. We will take that base and itemize questions to see where our students were strong and where they may need some improvements. In the next couple of weeks, I expect we’ll find out we’re relatively the same as we’ve done in the past.”

Cazenovia typically ranks in top three-to-five school districts on state tests in its OCM-BOCES region, which is comprised of 23 districts, Dubik said.

This past April, Dubik sent a letter to district parents — which was also posted on the district website — explaining the new tests, how they were different than previous assessments and that scores were expected to be less than in past years.

“In terms of the scores, we will not be able to compare this year’s exams to last year’s exams in the way that we have in the past. Because the instruction leading up to the tests and the tests themselves are different, any dip in student scores should not be interpreted as a decline in student learning or teacher performance,” that message stated.

In addition to concerns about the accuracy with which this year’s assessments measured student achievement, teachers and teachers unions have been concerned about how the expectedly-poor test results will effect teacher evaluations, which now are tied to students’ scores.

King, however, has said the scores will not negatively impact district, school, principal or teacher accountability. No new districts will be identified as Focus Districts and no new schools will be identified as Priority schools based on 2012-13 assessment results, he said.

For more information on the 2013 state assessments or specific school district results, visit nysed.gov.

Sarah Hall contributed to this report. Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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