Long Beach — and every other school district in New York state — got a rude awakening recently, when the results of new standardized state tests, prepared under the guidelines of the Common Core Learning Standards, were released.
“Obviously the results against the new standards are a disappointment,” said Superintendent David Weiss. “We need to do better by our students.”
Discussion at last week’s Board of Education meeting focused on the test scores and the new Common Core curriculum. Long Beach’s overall passing percentage for the English Language Arts exam was 38 percent, and for math, 37 percent. Nonetheless, the district’s mean scores in both subjects at every grade level surpassed the state
averages. And school officials said that the district had only eight “opt-outs” — students who did not take the exams.
Parents expressed their concerns, and wanted to know what actions the district is taking to improve test performance. Administrators assured them that the dip was to be expected with the implementation of the Common Core system, but added that they are analyzing what changes need to be made to the schools’ curriculum and instruction to improve results.
“This is a standard we need to move to achieve,” said Weiss. “That will be our focus for the coming year: ensuring that our
curriculum offering and our feedback systems to parents are fully in place so that we can help students move along … as fast as we can get them to where [they] need to be.”
When New York adopted the Common Core standards last year, it was one of the first states in the country to do so. The system includes new assessments for students in third through eighth grades in ELA and math. The purpose of the more-rigorous curriculum is to ensure that students are better prepared for college and careers.