More Rockville Centre students in grades three through eight were proficient on the 2017 state English language arts and math assessments compared to last year, as they once again scored significantly higher than the state average on the tests.
This district’s ELA proficiency rate this year was 66 percent, a 10-point increase from the year before, according to recently released data from the New York State Education Department.
Fifty-five more students achieved the educational standard set by NYSED than in 2016. On the four-tier rubric, the greatest gains were made in the highest category, with 49 more students achieving level four. The lowest level, accounting for 7 percent of the district’s test takers, is half of what it was last year.
Broken down by demographic, increased proficiency ratings on the ELA spanned almost all categories, including more than doubling the proficiency rate for students with disabilities. A few groups saw reductions in proficiency rates, including poor students.
The district’s ELA proficiency rates are about 25 percentage points higher than the state average 13 points higher than Nassau County’s average.
Math students also scored better, improving by 5 points from last year, though, as with the ELA scores, there was a significant drop in proficiency among poor students.
The district did 27 points better than the state in math proficiency, and 11 points better than the county’s schools combined.
Schools Superintendent Dr. William Johnson said the scores suggested that students are succeeding, but cautioned that the numbers are based on “invalid” methods.
He called the data, “Suggestive, but not conclusive … because they were badly made. That’s not a new problem. That’s been around for the past 4 or 5 years.”
Instead of relying on the state’s Common Core data, Johnson said that the district is looking to a second set of numbers, the Northwest Evaluation Association.
Hofstra professor and testing expert Bruce Torff said that the difference between the NWEA and state evaluations boils down to how well each one measures the efficacy of their own tests, in a process Torff called, “psychometric evaluation.” He said that NWEA’s evaluations are “pretty rigorous,” and that they do “a far-sight better job measuring performance than does the state.”
The district is currently compiling the raw data from last year’s NWEA evaluations into a full report, which Johnson said will be completed and published sometime in the next month or so.