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State assessment scores show progress

on August 24, 2014

Scores based on the second year of Common Core assessments

August, 2014 – On Thursday, August 14, the New York State Department of Education released district and school results for the English and math assessments that students
in grades three through eight took in the spring of 2014.

This was the second year the tests were based on the Common Core learning standards, which are meant to be more rigorous and reflective of the skills and concepts students need to be ready for college and careers. Proficiency levels across the state declined significantly last year. In this year’s results, state officials reported some progress.

Momentum toward meeting standards

Dr. David Leach, Superintendent of Schools, said the overall test results “reveal momentum toward meeting the new standards, as proficiency levels increased a combined 4.2% over last year’s results.”

He cautioned, however, against giving too much consideration to one measure of student progress.

“Our students’ results on these exams are among the top in the region,” he said, “however, our balanced assessment plan includes more authentic measures to promote all the skills required for success in a global economy. For instance, throughout the summer, our teachers have been authoring performance tasks involving real-life problems and related documents.

Students must analyze these before writing responses to a few open-ended questions. We think of assessment, then, as critical information for improving teaching and learning. To this end, the results on the state assessments are just one of many measures we consider.”

Scoring range indicates degree of proficiency

As in the past, students’ scores on the tests are converted into a scoring range of 1 through 4, meant to indicate the degree of proficiency in the Common Core standards for the grade level. Scores at level 3-4 indicate proficiency (4 means that a student excels in the standards), while levels 1-2 indicate a student is below proficiency. See the chart below for details.

Percentage of students scoring at a level 3 or 4:

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What the State Education Department says

In a press release from the State Education Department, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said: “The test scores show that students from all economic, race, ethnicity and geographic backgrounds can and are making progress. This is still a transition period. It will take time before the changes taking place in our classrooms are fully reflected in the test scores. But the growth we see is directly attributable to the dedication and determination of so many classroom teachers and school leaders across the state.”

As in the past, these assessments will not factor into a student’s grades for the year. They are typically used to help determine if a student needs extra help in math or English language arts, but are only one factor in this determination.

Warwick teachers and school leaders will also continue to examine the data to identify where instructional strategies should change and other ways to support all students.

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