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Sunday, May 29, 2016
Scores on school tests drop sharply
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Harrington said that she will tell parents who are concerned about the drop in scores that the game has changed. but Oceanside is still in the game. “We are not going to be defensive,” she said. “Our only intent is the betterment of students, and our parents know that. They have faith that we are working in their best interests — working hard.”

The district’s website has been updated to include information about the tests and the district’s reaction to the scores, as well as a letter from State Education Department officials.

Dr. Rosmarie Bovino, the superintendent of Island Park schools, said, “While we recognize the need to improve our scores, we are pleased that for the most part, our elementary schoolchildren exceeded the New York state average in both ELA and math. Similarly, they exceeded or were nearly at the same level as the Nassau County average in both areas. The middle school children did not perform as well, and this is extremely disappointing.

“Nevertheless,” Bovino continued, “the State Education Department imposed new Common Core Standards, tests, and Annual Professional Performance Review evaluations for teachers and principals in what was a ‘rush to failure.’ It was a rush to failure because the Board of Regents let the deadline for Race to the Top monies dictate an implementation timeline for unprecedented programmatic changes. This all occurred during a year when we lost classrooms, equipment, and materials due to [Hurricane] Sandy. I believe wholeheartedly, that these test scores do not reflect the caliber or level of performance of Island Park teachers and students.”

In an op-ed piece in the Daily News, Diane Ravitch — an educational historian at New York University and a member of the national educational testing assessment board from 1997 to 2004 — told a different story.

Ravitch, who was deeply involved in writing the No Child Left Behind law, wrote that she realized in 2004 that the reliance on high-stakes testing was bad for education, and she became an opponent of the law and the testing that was its most important component.


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National math test scores continue to be disappointing. This poor trend persists in spite of new texts, standardized tests with attached implied threats, or laptops in the class. At some point, maybe we should admit that math, as it is taught currently and in the recent past, seems irrelevant to a large percentage of grade school kids.

Why blame a sixth grade student or teacher trapped by meaningless lessons? Teachers are frustrated. Students check out.

The missing element is reality. Instead of insisting that students learn another sixteen formulae, we need to involve them in tangible life projects. And the task must be interesting.

Project-oriented math engages kids. It is fun. They have a reason to learn the math they may have ignored in the standard lecture format of a class room.

Alan Cook




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