Herald Schools

Lynbrook, East Rockaway students continue to opt out of state tests


About half of all eligible Lynbrook and East Rockaway students refused to take the New York state English Language Arts and mathematics tests this year. Those who did take the exams earned varied proficiency rates, data from the State Education Department shows.

According to the data, which was released last week, 58 percent of all eligible test-takers in Lynbrook opted out of the state math exam and 57 percent of all eligible test-takers in East Rockaway did the same. Similarly, 56.4 percent of eligible students did not take the state English Language Arts test in Lynbrook and 55.9 percent did not take it in East Rockaway.

“There is a great deal of mistrust on Long Island in the state assessment model,” said Dr. Melissa Burak, the superintendent of the Lynbrook School District. “However, this past spring, Lynbrook’s opt-out numbers were slightly lower than that of previous years.”

Of those who did take the tests, almost 62.2 percent of Lynbrook students scored a proficient grade on the English exam, and about 55.8 percent did the same on the state math test. In East Rockaway, about 41.3 percent scored a proficient grade on the English exam, and 36.8 percent did so in math. Eighth-graders across the state also had the option to take a high school Regents exam instead of the state math test.

Across Nassau County, an average of 58 percent of all the students who took the exams received a proficient grade on the state ELA test and an average of 60 percent of all students who took the test received a proficient grade on the math exam. Throughout the state, an average of 45 percent of all students received a proficient grade on the English test and 44.5 percent did so on the math exam.

“The East Rockaway School District ensures its students are meeting all New York state learning standards on a regular basis,” said Lisa Ruiz, the superintendent of the East Rockaway School District. “We use other valid measures of tracking student achievement and are confident that our students are succeeding at similar levels to their peers across the state.”

A news release on the State Education Department’s website noted that the results of this year’s test could not be compared to the test results from years prior because the state changed the format this year from a three-day session to a two-day period. State education officials also said that the test results are further broken down to compare students at each socio-economic level and to compare students with learning disabilities.

“It’s important to remember that while test scores provide us with needed information, they’re only one measure of performance,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said in a statement, “and we must always look at the whole picture.”