The purpose of the more rigorous curriculum is to better prepare students for college and careers, according to education officials. King added that the test scores are a benchmark to show how much more progress needs to be made to develop more knowledgeable and skillful students who can be competitive in the 21st century.
Ruiz said she is in favor of raising the bar for students and educators, but it has to be done correctly. “We want to be competitive globally,” she said. “We want our students to be prepared for college and career, but I think we need to do it in a developmentally appropriate way so that children will get there in an appropriate amount of time.”
When the scores were released last week, Burak published a letter on the district’s website explaining why they dropped and adding that comparing this year’s results to last year’s simply doesn’t work. According to Burak, the results “reflect the fact that the assessments were prematurely implemented before students could be effectively instructed in the new, more rigorous Common Core Learning Standards curriculum.”
To gauge student performance more accurately, Ruiz said, East Rockaway will use other resources, including classroom assessments, student learning objectives and local assessments. She added that teachers will continue to receive professional development to help them make the transition to the new curriculum — and to make sure students understand that they didn’t necessarily perform worse on the latest tests.
“I know that our teachers will do their best this year to provide the most high-quality instruction while supporting our children so they don’t feel overwhelmed and overly stressed by these shifts,” Ruiz said.
Both administrators said they were prepared for the drop in scores, but are not happy with this year’s assessments. “It’s not assessing student learning,” Burak said.