Aug 08, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Cazenovia — ELA: 56.3 percent, Math: 52.3 percent
Chittenango — ELA: 36.9 percent, Math: 35.4 percent
DeRuyter — ELA: 23.5 percent, Math: 19.6 percent
Fabius-Pompey — 43.9 percent, Math: 46.9 percent
Fayetteville-Manlius — ELA: 58.7 percent, Math: 70 percent
Morrisville — ELA: 21.6 percent, Math: 17.9 percent
The state education department Wednesday released the results of the 2013 English Language Arts and math test scores for students in grades three to eight, and, while test scores were down throughout the state due to the higher overall difficulty of the tests, Cazenovia students scored more than 20 percentage points above the state average.
This year’s assessment tests were the first year to be based on the new national Common Core Learning Standards, a more rigorous benchmark approved by the Board of Regents in 2010. The requirements, which have been adopted in states across the country, are aimed at helping children acquire sophisticated reasoning skills. The goal behind these standards is to move the schools away from rote learning to a writing-intensive curriculum that emphasizes problem-solving skills. Tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 4; levels 3 and 4 indicate proficiency.
Statewide, 31.1 percent of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded the ELA proficiency standard, while 31 percent met or exceeded the math proficiency standard — this means that less than a third of students in grades three through eight are performing at grade level.
Last year, those numbers were closer to 55 percent, but state education officials said the tests are so different that they shouldn’t be compared.
“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,” said State Education Commissioner John King. “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 are not a critique of past efforts; they’re a new starting point on a roadmap to future success.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.