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Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Test scores drop in Valley Stream, state
(Page 3 of 4)
Alyson Goodman/Herald
Passing rates on the New York state assessments in the Valley Stream Central High School District.
Sean Douglas, president of the District 13 Board of Education, said that in the past, students who performed at grade level expectations did well on the tests. Now, he said, they need to be well above grade level to meet the standards.

The numbers that concerned Stirling the most were the passing rates for children enrolled in ESL and special education. Statewide, only 3 percent of limited-English students passed the ELA exams, compared with 5 percent for special needs children. “If you heart doesn’t hurt just seeing those kinds of numbers, I don’t know what would,” he said. “My concern is for all kids.”

Implementing Common Core

Troisi said that the high school district began planning two years ago for the new standards. Teachers were trained by educational consultants on how to design lessons that aligned with Common Core.

The year before the standards took effect, district teachers were asked to teach one lesson per quarter based on Common Core. Heidenreich and Troisi said they stepped up and embraced the changes. “Our teachers work exceptionally hard, as do our students,” Heidenreich said. “It’s frustrating and disappointing to see results go down the way that they did.”

Administrators say they would analyze each student’s performance, and how children assigned to each teacher did, in the hope of closing gaps in the curriculum.

Douglas said it is apparent that students are going to need to know how to think critically and express themselves more thoughtfully to succeed on future tests. The school board, he explained, will use specific test data to decide what additional training teachers will need.

In District 24, Fale said that he and the board might consider hiring additional Academic Intervention Services teachers, one for math and one for ELA. Administrators will also review the fifth-grade math curriculum, because only 25 percent of students passed that test, five points below the state average.
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