Feedback: State Sees Steep Drop In Test Scores

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New York education officials warned early on not to expect great results on the first English and math tests given statewide to elementary students under tougher new learning standards -- and they're right.

The state Education Department on Thursday said test results show that 31 percent of students in grades 3 through 8 scored proficient in English, with the same percentage meeting or exceeding the standard in math.
 
That compares to last year's results of 55 percent in English and about two out of every three students meeting or exceeding the math standard.
 
Education Commissioner John King said in a release that the results don't mean students are doing worse, but that the standards are stricter.
 
"These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century," King said.
 
"I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers, and principals. It's frustrating to see our children struggle. But we can't allow ourselves to be paralyzed by frustration; we must be energized by this opportunity," King said.
 
King said the results will not be used to penalize schools, school officials or teachers.
 
Just over 29 percent of third graders at Watertown's Knickerbocker Elementary passed the English test.

At Lowville Elementary, only 23 percent of fifth graders passed the math portion.

And in St. Lawrence County, 13 percent of eighth graders made the grade in math.

But officials say the numbers are just a guide; a way to measure future results.

"They should not be used to criticize districts or principals or teachers, but rather point the way," said King.

The question for districts and for teachers - what now?

"Identify where the gaps were in instruction and fill in those gaps and really prepare students, not teaching to the test, but preparing students," said Jay Boak, superintendent of Jefferson-Lewis BOCES.
 
Here is the complete news release.
 
Here is a county-by-county breakdown of results in each grade.
 
Here is a breakdown by school district.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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