Scores on standardized state English Language Arts and math tests dropped sharply this year in both Franklin Square and Elmont, worrying many parents who fear that their children will be negatively affected, and teachers who fear that the lower scores will unjustifiably reflect poorly on their performance.
In Franklin Square’s grade 6, the percentage of students who passed the tests fell to 41.1 percent in ELA and to 58.1 percent in mathematics from 2011-12’s 77.7 and 91.0 percent, respectively. There were similar drops for Elmont’s sixth-graders, with 32.1 percent passing the ELA exam this year and 43.2 percent passing in math, as compared with 63.2 and 79.7 percent, respectively, in 2011-12.
Franklin Square Superintendent of School Patrick Manley told the Herald that district students’ performance this year reflected changes that the State Education Department made, but he pointed that they were still above county and state averages.
“Our scores are reflective of the guidance provided by the State Education Department,” Manley said. “The commissioner of education predicted lower proficiency rates due to changes in the examinations. Our results exceed the county and statewide averages, which is consistent with prior years.”
Elmont Superintendent of Schools Al Harper said that the expedited implementation of the Common Core curriculum should be seen as the main reason for the drop in performance. The scores, Harper warned, are not indicative of students’ unpreparedness or lack of academic ability.
“This year’s assessment results are not a fair or accurate reflection of our students’ abilities,” he said. “As a district, we will analyze the new assessment data and provide relevant support where needed. Curriculum development is an ongoing process in Elmont. During the last two summers and throughout both schools years, teams of administrators and teachers have aligned the district curriculum to the New York State Common Core Standards in Literacy and Mathematics. Although the challenge of educating our children may have become greater, we will always set high expectations for them and provide the support they need to achieve academic success.”