Cazenovia again achieves high state test scores for 2014

Average math scores increase while ELA scores decrease for students in grades 3 through 8

— The state education department Thursday released the results of the 2014 English Language Arts and math test scores for students in grades 3 to 8, and Cazenovia Central School District remained a high achieving district, scoring more than 20 percentage points above the state average in both subjects.

While Cazenovia’s continued high scores is good news for the district, the results were a mixed bag, with math scores having improved by more than 7 percent, but ELA scores declined by nearly 5 percent.

“One of the things that is important to do with assessment results is to drill down and find out what they mean on a student-by-student level, which is more important than district-wide and by grade level,” said Superintendent Matt Reilly. “We started out higher and we are outpacing [other districts] in terms of improvement. Our numbers are strong but there’s still plenty of room to get better.”

This year’s assessment tests were the second 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.

This year, for the first time, assessment results are presented based on the performance of all students who took an exam last year (2013) compared with those same students in the following year (2014) at the next grade level, according to a release from the state department of education. This “matched students” approach focuses on student learning and provides more useful data than an approach that compares the performance of one year’s students at a particular grade level against the next year’s cohort of students at the same grade level.

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