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Thursday, October 30, 2014
Test scores drop in Valley Stream, state
(Page 2 of 4)
Alyson Goodman/Herald
Passing rates on the New York state assessments in the Valley Stream Central High School District.
Dr. Thomas Troisi, the high school district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, noted that in previous years, the passing rates in math were typically higher than ELA, but that was not the case this year. While the numbers were fairly even at the elementary level, there was a big shift in the upper grades. Slightly more than half of eighth-grade students passed the ELA exam, while only a quarter were proficient in math.

District 24 Superintendent Dr. Edward Fale, who has a master’s degree in math, offered one possible explanation, saying that elementary and junior high school students are now being introduced to topics that used to be taught in high school, yet many lack the maturity to be able to grasp more complex mathematical concepts.

Performance expected to rise

District 13 Superintendent Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund said she believes scores will improve in the future, especially as children who have had the benefit of a Common Core-based education beginning in kindergarten reach the testing grades.

Heidenreich agreed. “When they enter third grade,” he said, “they’re going to be more familiar with what the expectation is. I am confident, as always, that our kids are going to rise to the occasion.”

District 30 Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling said the test results are just one factor the district uses to measure a student’s progress. In fact, he said, because of concerns about the validity of this year’s assessments, the district will rely heavily on other evaluation tools to determine what support services a child might need.

“We did a lot of work, the teachers and the kids and the parents,” Stirling said, “and not to have a test that fairly assesses the work that goes on is concerning. I’m not happy with this. I’m hoping that parents will understand what is actually happening here and trust us to do the right things by kids.”

Fale shares Stirling’s concerns. He said that the tests should be designed to measure the learning that has taken place, and he does not believes these assessments reflected the revamped curriculum. “If everyone scores this low, it’s not a problem with the child,” he said. “It’s a problem with the test.”
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