For their part, state education officials say that “compare” is the wrong word to use when measuring 2012-13 against 2011-12. “There may be some who try to use today’s results to attack principals and teachers. That would be wrong,” State Education Commissioner John B. King said in a written statement. “The changes in scores do not mean that schools have taught less or that students have learned less.”
King added, “The new assessments are a better, more accurate tool for educators, students and parents as they work together to address the rigorous demands of the Common Core and college and career readiness in the 21st century.”
“The world has changed, the economy has changed and what our students need to know has changed,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said. “These scores reflect a new baseline and a new beginning. These proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness.”
Many community members opposed the new, higher standards. Elmont resident Wilhemina Nyarko, whose son will be a fifth-grader at Dutch Broadway School in the fall, said that low scores can negatively impact not only the children taking the tests, but the school district.
“I can understand the need to encourage critical analysis and problem solving as required by the Common Core standards, because these skills are necessary to excel in high school and college,” Nyarko said. “However, it does not appear that the kids were adequately prepared for the new standards, and I’m concerned about how these scores will impact the kids and the school district down the line. I wonder, with these scores, if the school district will be considered a low-performing district. I understand that performance fell statewide, but other school districts, like Great Neck and Roslyn, seemed to have fared better, so I do think that it comes down to preparation and instilling the confidence in our kids that they are capable of mastering these new standards.”