The New York State math and ELA assessment results have been published by the state education department, reflecting low scores in proficiency or better in both subjects for the Sachem School District. However, the state education commissioner says not to be alarmed.
According to the results, only about 35% of Sachem students tested in ELA and Math grades 3-5 scored proficient or better than proficient (levels 3 and 4) in the state exams. The numbers get better for grades 6-8, where district-wide, closer to half the students tested scored 3 or 4 on either exam. The numbers are in range, but slightly better in a state-wide comparison, which hovered somewhere around 31% proficient or better. The district percentage for students scoring 3 or 4 combined are as follows:
Grade 3 ELA 32.4% Grade 3 Math 36.8%
Grade 4 ELA 28.3% Grade 4 Math 37.1%
Grade 5 ELA 35.7% Grade 5 Math 35.5%
Grade 6 ELA 40.8% Grade 6 Math 45.2%
Grade 7 ELA 45.5% Grade 7 Math 42.8%
Grade 8 ELA 49.9% Grade 8 Math 44.8%
State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. emphasized in a release that the scores, though alarming for most, do not necessarily reflect poor teacher-student performance. He said the results reflect the new rigorous standards imposed on New York State kids since the adoption of the Common Core Curriculum.
"We all share the same goal: to make sure all students in New York have the skills and knowledge to be successful in college and careers," King is quoted in the release. "With the Common Core, we're building a ladder toward that goal; the assessment scores are a measure of where our students are on that ladder and give us a clearer, more accurate picture of the climb ahead."
In the same memo, Commissioner King said no district in New York was being added as a "Focus District," and no school was being added to its list of "Priority Schools" in 2013-14. Focus Districts and Priority Schools are two lists that highlight academically troubled conditions that will draw the state's attention.
Another important finding indicates that the achievement gap for racial and ethnic groups continues to persist. Only 16.1% of African-Americans and 17.7% of Hispanic kids met or exceeded proficiency standards in these new assessments.
Requests for comment from Sachem Superintendent James Nolan were not returned. Patch will be at tonight's Board of Education meeting and will get further comment from school officials.