Students in most local school districts bucked the downward statewide trend by meeting or exceeding the ELA and math proficiency standards on assessment exams given last April.
However, students in third through eighth grade in the Ossining and Peekskill school districts did not fare well, falling in line with many districts statewide with a large percentage of minority and low-income students.
State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said the results of the assessments were not surprising since it was the first time students were tested following the Common Core Learning Standards adopted by the State Board of Regents in 2010.
King emphasized the results do not reflect a decrease in performance for schools or students, but provide a more accurate tool for educators, students and parents to address the rigorous demands of the Common Core and college and career readiness in the 21st Century.
“I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers and principals. It’s frustrating to see our children struggle,” King said. “But we can’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity. We all share the same goal: to make sure all students in New York have the skills and knowledge to be successful in college and careers.”
Statewide, 31% of students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded the ELA and math proficiency standards, meaning they reached Level 3 or 4. The tests also revealed an achievement gap with only 16% of African-American students and 17.7% of Hispanic students meeting or exceeding the ELA proficiency standards, a situation King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch deemed unacceptable.
“Our students face very real challenges. But it’s better to have our students challenged now, when teachers and parents are there to help, than frustrated later when they start college or try to find a job and discover they are unprepared,” Tisch remarked.
Hendrick Hudson Superintendent of Schools Joseph Hochreiter posted a letter to families on the district’s website regarding the assessments. Students in the district scored highest on the fifth, seventh and eighth grade ELA exams.
“We need to treat these new scores as a baseline against which to measure future improvement,” said Hochreiter, who is beginning his first school year in Hendrick Hudson. “I do not believe this to be an indictment of student performance or teacher effectiveness. The scores, however, will help us gauge our progress in the years to come.”
On several exams at different grade levels, more than 50% of students in the Croton, Somers and Yorktown districts met or exceeded proficiency standards. More than 54% of eighth graders in Lakeland scored high on the ELA exam.
Meanwhile, students in Ossining and Peekskill struggled across the board. On average, only about 26% of students in Ossining in grades 3-8 reached Level 3 or 4, while in Peekskill, the results ranged from a low of 7.6% of fifth graders on the ELA exam meeting proficiency to a high of 21.7% of sixth graders in math achieving Level 3 or 4.