Hunderfund said that teachers and principals will analyze the data to figure out where students excelled and where they fell short. “Obviously, you have different children,” he said. “There’s a different set of teachers in grade levels not teaching the same set of children. That’s why item analysis is critical. We must look at the more detailed analysis.”
Both Cunningham and Hunderfund said that their districts have numerous programs in place to ensure that students’ educational needs are met. Hunderfund cited as an example Malverne’s At Risk program, which provides tutoring for struggling students, and extra support classes before and after school. There are also some Saturday classes at Howard T. Herber Middle School.
“There’s a lot of support there for reading, math, comprehension skills,” Hunderfund said. “You do want to meet the state standards and keep children on track.”
Cunningham said that students in West Hempstead set personal goals for achievement, and that the district maintains portfolio assessments to keep track of their progress. The district also utilizes a K-through-8 benchmarking test — an electronic testing program that assesses student growth.
“It’s generally multiple-choice,” Cunningham said, “but we’re looking at writing skills. It lets us look at how students might edit a passage. It lets us look at student vocabulary and reading comprehension. The math portion is basic computation and word problems. They have to interpret whole questions.”
Cunningham said that the program is administered at the beginning and the end of each school year. “It’s an additional resource that gives our teachers more information on students’ strength and weakness,” he said. “More than the state assessments.
“State assessments, from one year to the next, are not related,” he added. “They cannot measure if a student grew educationally for one year’s worth of education.”