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Monday, September 1, 2014
Test scores drop sharply
East Meadow still well above state averages for math, ELA assessments
Illustration by Christina Daly/Herald
East Meadow students exceeded state and county averages for nearly all grade levels.

State test scores plummeted to historic lows in most school districts in Nassau County and New York, a result that was expected following the implementation of a more rigorous curriculum.

With the new Common Core Learning Standards put into place last year, new English Language Arts and math assessments were designed for students in third through eighth grades. Just 31.1 percent of students across the state passed the ELA exam, and 31 percent passed the math.

While the East Meadow School District was no exception to this statewide trend, its results were well above state averages for all six grades in both exams, according to results released by the state’s Department of Education on Aug. 7. Passing rates in East Meadow ranged from 38 to 62 percent, still far below the 70, 80 and even 90 percent rates the district had boasted for years.

The purpose of the more rigorous curriculum, according to the State Education Department, is to “present a new and transparent baseline from which we can measure student progress and preparedness for college and careers.”

Students earn one of four grades on the tests. A score of 3 or 4 is deemed as meeting state proficiency standards, or passing, while a score of 1 or 2 has in past years required students to receive academic intervention services.

This year’s scores, however, will have no negative impact on districts, schools, principals, teachers or students, according to the state. No new districts will be identified as “focus districts” and no new schools will be identified as “priority schools” based on the results.

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said the lower scores do not necessarily reflect a drop in performance, but instead are an indication of increased expectations. “I understand these scores are sobering for parents, teachers and principals,” King said. “It’s frustrating to see our children struggle.”

He added that the scores will serve as a benchmark, to show how much more progress needs to be made to develop more knowledgeable and skillful students who can be competitive in the 21st century.

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