Friday, August 9, 2013

NYS test results

The State Education Department (SED) released the results of the state English language arts and math exams on August 7.

Earlier this year, SED officials had cautioned school leaders, teachers and parents in Watervliet and around the state of a probable decline in test results. That is because for the very first time this spring New York’s students took tests based on the new more rigorous Common Core learning standards. SED officials based the prediction on research and the experience of other states that had previously implemented and tested students on the new national learning standards. Those states, in fact, reported a decline in tests scores after preliminary testing; consequently, SED fully anticipated the same would occur with results in New York.

As the scores are reported in the media and digested by parents and educators, it will be important to keep the following in perspective:

First, state education officials emphasize that with the new standards come increased expectations. A drop in scores is not indicative of our students’ abilities to learn or our teachers’ abilities to teach. The state tests administered in the spring are the first our students have taken based on the new Common Core learning standards. These results will be used to establish a new benchmark from which to measure student performance in future years.

Second, the 2013 test results should not be compared to results from last year or prior years because students are being tested on new, more rigorous learning standards that reflect more complex skill sets and concepts and require different strategies for approaching questions and solving problems. As in years past, the state assessments will have no impact on students’ grades; the results are used mainly to determine whether students require additional help with math or literacy skills.

Finally, while educators, parents and students naturally tend to place importance on state test results, these scores essentially represent a snapshot in time. The greater purpose of education is to make sure that students have the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to live successful and productive lives.

As educators and students continue to transition to the Common Core standards, we remain committed to preparing our students to be college and career ready—and to honoring our mission to educate, inspire and challenge every student, every day.

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