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East Rockaway, Lynbrook administrators not happy with state test scores

Following the implementation of a more rigorous curriculum less than a year ago, test scores on standardized tests dropped across Nassau County and New York state, but administrators in the Lynbrook and East Rockaway school districts maintain that the exams don’t properly assess students’ skills.

“The test scores do not reflect the actual learning that the kids have in class during the year,” said Lynbrook Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak.

Under new Common Core Learning Standards, instituted last year, new exams were designed for students in third through eighth grades in English Language Arts and math. The assessments were administered in April, and the results were published last week. Passing rates ranged from 25 to 50 percent, far below the 70, 80 and even 90 percent rates most Long Island district had seen for years. Scoring on the assessments is divided into four levels, and levels 3 and 4 are considered passing grades.

As was the case in districts across the state, Lynbrook’s and East Rockaway’s test scores dropped significantly on both tests in all six grades. When compared with other districts, however, Lynbrook students exceeded the statewide average in every category, and surpassed the Nassau County average in nine of 12 categories.

“We will utilize the comparison information to focus on areas where we can improve and build for the upcoming year,” Burak said of the scores.

East Rockaway students scored below the county average on all of the tests, but exceeded the state average on half of them. The district’s new superintendent, Lisa Ruiz, said that students have not had enough instruction time with the Common Core curriculum, and that it is too soon to test them on the material.

“Students did not suddenly get worse,” Ruiz said. “The results don’t mean that students are learning less and that teachers and schools are performing worse.”

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. agreed that the lower scores do not necessarily reflect a drop in performance, but instead are an indication of increased expectations. “I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers and principals,” he said. “It’s frustrating to see our children struggle.”


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But what the state and administration needs to realize is that one whole elementary school and the middle school was out for 3 weeks total due to hurricane Sandy AND had to be combined in Center Avenue, where there was double the amount of students and the teachers had to accommodate as much as they could. The teachers could not have been able to do as well of a job when they are in a smaller cramped classroom with twice the amount of children. Not to mention the students that were in the middle school that were over at Milburn. They did not have all of the equipment that was provided to them at the Jr-Sr high school. Obviously it was going to be a difficult year due to what happen to both of the schools, but how dare the administration have the nerve to blame the teachers. They did the best that they could possibly do considering the amount of time they had and the amount of available resources they had as well. The state tests were NOT pushed back after Sandy, so while majority of New York state was in school (except for the schools on Long Island that were out a week and a half the most) the children in East Rockaway lost 3 WHOLE WEEKS OF LEARNING. And even upon returning to school, it was still a whole other 1 1/2- 2 weeks until the classes were fully able to adjust. Just look at Lynbrooks scores compared to East Rockaway, there is a significant difference, and it's not the teachers fault. Half of the kids didn't even have a home for MONTHS. Am I stating that we should be blaming the students? No, of course not, but do not turn around and say that it is the schools and the teachers that are lacking and not doing their job. They did the best that they could. Shame on you East Rockaway Administration and NY State.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | Report this

East Rockaway students and teachers deserve a mulligan. It was a tough year. East Rockaway's performance relative to Lynbrook and the County/State averages is worrying but, unless the same disparity in numbers shows up again next year, hardly cause for alarm.

Thursday, August 15, 2013 | Report this

While I agree that ER should get a mulligan as suggested above, I do find it interesting that whenever there's good news on testing, the teacher's union is quick to take credit, but when things go south, they play the "the tests are unfair" card. You can't have it both ways. So there's a new test and it's hard. What do you? If your current teaching methods didn't produce the desired results, you change your methods - not the test.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Report this
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