State: Students struggle with Common Core

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The superintendent said that on a normal year, the district would use test results to place students in academic intervention services, or extra help. Students receiving ones or twos were automatically placed in AIS in past years. (Three is deemed passing, and four is considered meeting the standards with distinction.)

This year, however, DeTomasso said the state has given districts leeway when assigning students to AIS. Simply because a student received a one or two does not mean that he or she will be placed in AIS. School officials will examine the student’s academic record over the previous four quarters, as well as this year’s final exam results, to paint a complete picture of the pupil’s academic strengths and progress. If the student has demonstrated academic success throughout the year, he or she may not receive AIS services. Guidance counselors will sort through the data to make such determinations.

DeTommaso said that Bellmore-Merrick teachers were trained in the new Common Core standards last summer. Future professional development classes, he said, would delve deeper into the new standards.

The superintendent added that parents could expect to receive their children’s individual test score reports from the Board of Cooperative Educational Services in mid-September.

In the Merrick School District

Sixth-graders taking the ELA test at Merrick’s Birch, Levy-Lakeside and Chatterton Schools did the best of the district’s students on the state’s new ELA and math assessments — 62.9 percent of them passed. At the low end of the spectrum, 50.2 percent of Merrick’s third graders passed the ELA test.

Last year, the district’s passing rate on the sixth-grade and third-grade ELA tests was 80.4 percent and 83.9 percent, respectively.

Nevertheless, Merrick Superintendent Dr. Dominick Palma said the Merrick School District is “in great shape” compared to other districts in Nassau County and around the state.

Palma said he favors the Common Core Learning Standards, but he lamented several aspects of the new tests’ rollout. “We noticed it was a lot harder for students to complete the test,” Palma said. “The language and reading were very difficult, and the math got into new areas. It’s no surprise that scores plummeted.”

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